Mechanicsville, VA

The fascinating history of the Polegreen "Ghost Church" in Mechanicsville

Cheryl E Preston
Polegreen Ghost ChurchPhoto byWikipedia

The Polegreen Church is rich in history

On the side of a rural road in Mechanicsville, Virginia you will find what appears to be the skeletal remains of a house of worship that locals call the “Ghost Church.” The name is not because of paranormal activity and you can visit the white beams that were erected on the site from sun up until sundown. This structure represents the location where the historic Polegreen Church used to stand.

A local brick mason in Hanover, named Samuel Morris allowed family and neighbors to read the Bible and religious tracts in his home on Sunday mornings which was the beginning of the Hanover dissenters, who fought the state-sanctioned Anglican church at a time when taking that action could land you in jail.

Polegreen was built in 1764, as a meeting house for the dissenters. The church was instrumental in the pre-Revolutionary struggle for civil and religious liberties. A newly ordained preacher named Samuel Davies was invited to preach at Polegreen and became Virginia’s first licensed non-Anglican minister.
The Polegreen "Ghost Church."Photo byWikipedia

The Civil War established the "Ghost Church"

Davis was also a pioneer in the movement to teach slaves to read. He is credited as the first American hymn writer and the Negro slave spiritual “Lord, I Want to be a Christian in My Heart” originated at Polegreen.

During the Civil War battle lines formed on opposite sides of Totopotomoy Creek during the 1864 Overland Campaign as the Union army advanced on Richmond. Polegreen Church stood between them. A Confederate artillery shell fired to dislodge Union sharpshooters by a man whose father had been baptized at Polegreen hit the wooden building, which burned to the ground. (Wikipedia)

The congregation did not have the funds to rebuild and the foundation of the original church is what is known today as the "Ghost Church." The Polegreen Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

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I am a native Virginian who writes, about breaking news, nutrition, history, celebrities, and current events that are of interest to those living in the Commonwealth.

Roanoke, VA

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