Smith Creek Regular Baptist Church
9312 N. Congress Street PO Box 99 New Market, VA 22844 540.740.8560 Smith Creek Baptist Church was started 20 years before the Declaration of Independence. It was founded August 6, 1756, with 11 charter members. Among them was Elder John Alderson, the first Pastor, on whose farm near Smith Creek the first meeting house was built. (The meeting house stood at the tree in the bend on County 737 going away from Hwy 11.) Also among them were Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Newman, who had deeded to John Alderson half the land granted them by Lord Fairfax. Samuel Newman, with his brother Jonathan, had settled on Smith Creek by 1745, coming here from near Philadelphia where Samuel had joined the Baptist Church. Jonathan died by 1750. His oldest son, Walter, was, with his family, active in Smith Creek Church many years. Soon after the founding of the church, Indian raids began in the Valley and the congregation carried rifles to church for protection. The founders of the church suffered many hardships and made many sacrifices. Smith Creek Church was received into the Philadelphia Association in 1762. About 1756, (some records say the same day as Smith Creek) another meeting house was built on Linville Creek for the convenience of the members who lived in that area. Approximately 1765, John Sevier deeded to the Baptists 3 acres in Cross Roads community (now New Market) on the West side of the Pike, where a new meeting house was soon built. This was about 20 years before the town was laid off. In August 1766, the Ketocton Association was formed, and Smith Creek was one of the 4 participating churches.
One of the few Historic Regular Baptists, est. 1756
One of the strong leaders in the vigorous early days of the church was James Ireland, who came to teach at Cross Roads in 1768, and was soon won to the Lord by the testimony of two laymen who, as he put it, “possessed what they professed.” He went on horseback to attend an association in North Carolina (Sandy Creek). On his way home, James Ireland met with a group of ardent soul-winners and was set on fire to reach the lost. Baptized and ordained, he then returned to the Valley as an itinerant preacher. This ministry was interrupted at its very beginning when he was cast into the Culpeper jail for preaching the Gospel when he had been warned not to do so. There he was shamefully mistreated throughout one entire winter and bore the effects the rest of his life. However, he was not cast down and went on to a fruitful and blessed ministry. Thousands came to hear him, and hundreds were won to the Lord and baptized. He established many churches. It is recorded that in 1802, at one of these churches, he baptized 93 persons, 52 of whom were immersed in 37.5 seconds. James Ireland continued fellowship with the Baptists at Smith Creek but never joined. He did join the Ketocton Association in 1783. Elder Anderson Moffett became pastor of Smith Creek Church soon after the Revolutionary War, and served the church for almost 50 years. Moffett, like Ireland before him, was imprisoned in Culpeper jail and persecuted because he preached the Gospel boldly. In 1833 a brick church building was erected on the Baptist property in New Market West of the Pike, but slightly Southeast of the first in-town meeting house. Here many of the wounded from both the Union and Confederate armies were cared for who were injured during the May 15, 1864 Battle of New Market. Before the end of the century the Baptists had been persuaded to trade all their “large and desirable property West of the Pike” for a single lot East of the Pike. On this lot in 1899 work was started on a new brick church building. Although construction was halted for some time because of lack of funds, it later went ahead, and the building was completed in 1902. It is still in use. An educational building was added in 1955. In 1967 an adjoining lot was bought, and also an adjoining residence to use as a parsonage and for Sunday School rooms. That same year, another addition was built to provide Sunday School rooms and an enlarged auditorium.
reported by Mrs. John Rice, written by Mrs. Robert Collins
In addition to John Alderson and Anderson Moffett, pastors of Smith Creek have included Elder Christopher Keyser, Elder Paul W. Yates, and Elder F.M. Perry. Elder Martin Urner served as Pastor for about 20 years until his death in 1888 at the age of 76. Elder J.B. McInturff, in addition to pastoring Smith Creek Church, was Superintendent of Shenandoah County Schools, founder of the Strasburg News, and editor of The Old Paths. Elder Arthur W. Campbell pastored from 1918 until 1948, often walking the 13 miles over the mountain to New Market and back to his home in Luray. He died in 1958, after a long and faithful ministry. More recent pastors have been Elders John Adkerson, John Waye, Howard Barnes, Robert McClure, and H. Jack Masquelier..
Added to the history since 1966:
Other Pastors have been Elmer Mehl, H. Nelson Pettit and currently Brent Hockema. Pastor Pettit ministered here for 32 years from 1974 to 2007. Pastoring for 50 years, he preached right up until the Lord called him home. Our pastor, Brent Hockema, was called and began serving our congregation June 1, 2008. No history of Smith Creek would be complete without mention of Elder E. H. Burnham of Richmond, Kentucky, whose sermons during visits to this part of Virginia had a pronounced effect upon the churches of the Ketocton Association. Elder Burnham’s enthusiasm for Sunday Schools largely influenced the start of them before his death in the early 1920’s. Some who have been active in our church have also done very effective work in reaching the lost on the other side of the world. One of these was George P. Bostick, missionary to China, who died of typhus in China in 1926. Many other stalwart Christians have suffered persecution and have labored faithfully for this church. What they did was done for the Lord Jesus Christ, and on His return we look forward to uniting with Him and all of them in one grand meeting in skies!
For the 200th Ketocton Anniversary, 1966.