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Imprisoned in King and Queen County (VA) Sixteen Days.
By Lewis Peyton Little, 1938

      This is the only instance in which it seems the civil powers were invoked in King and Queen County to silence Baptist preachers. The jail and all the old records have been destroyed, thereby shutting up the investigator to a few brief references to this event, by our own historians. Semple's account in his History, page 22, is as follows:

“In August 1772, James Greenwood and Wm. Loval were preaching, not far from the place where Bruington Meeting House now stands, in the county of King & Queen, when they were seized by virtue of a warrant, and immediately conveyed to prison.”
      Before giving the rest of Semple's account we want to write into the record, the testimony of a ministerial son of Bruington Church, with reference to the exact spot where these men of God were seized while preaching. This son was Dr. Chas. H. Ryland, whose name is beautifully and thoroughly woven into the history of Richmond College. It is interesting to note that he was the man who offered the resolution, at the General Association in Staunton in 1872 which led to the wonderful “Memorial Movement,” which stirred the Baptist ranks in Virginia from center to circumference as they had never been stirred before. He was intensely interested in the preservation of our history, the founder of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, and its secretary for thirty-three years. Dr. Beale called attention to these facts in his obituary of Dr. Ryland closing with the following beautiful and deserved tribute:
"He did more for the discovery and preservation of the materials of our denominational history than any other man of his day. He was more active than any other in inducing churches to observe centennial services with a view to compiling and placing on record the events of their history; he was instrumental in securing, in connection with the General Association, perhaps all the strictly historical meetings that have been held. His devotion to the work burned like a holy fire on the altar of his heart, till strength and

life failed him, and the future historian of Virginia Baptists will pause at times amidst his toilsome task to take heart over the help received from him, and to breathe a grateful benediction on the name of Charles Hill Ryland.”
      This burning zeal for all our denominational history has been mentioned to show the trend of his mind and the affection of his heart, in order that the reader will be better prepared to appreciate a choice bit of information Dr. Ryland obtained from some unknown source and jotted down on a flyleaf in the back of his Bible. His son, Prof. Garnett Ryland, happened to mention it to the compiler of these notes, and it was at his request that Prof. Ryland has copied it for this work. It has to do with Bruington Church, Dr. Ryland's old home church, and the church that sent him into the ministry, and it must have given him a great deal of genuine pleasure to record these facts that are nowhere else to be found:
"Previous to the constitution of Bruington Church the Baptists of the neighborhood worshipped in Ware's barn 'across the swamp' from my father's residence where Wiley and subsequently Don Brown lived. Then an arbor was erected where Dentist T. M. Henley now lives and almost in sight of the present house of worship. Here James Greenwood and William Loval were seized while preaching and conveyed to King & Queen jail singing 'Life is the time to serve the Lord' and gave notice they would preach the next Lord's Day from the jail windows.

C. H. Ryland,

May, 1873."

      In the above quotation is a line of the hymn that Greenwood and Loval sang on their way to jail. Continuing Dr. Semple's account, we are told that:

"After the first day and night they were allowed the bounds. Having continued in prison sixteen days, i.e. until court, they were discharged, upon giving bond for good behavior. At this season they received the most unbounded kindness from Mr. Harwood the jailer, and his lady. They preached regularly while in prison, and to much purpose."

      It is axiomatic that no man likes his jailer. There are exceptions, of course, but these exceptions only prove the rule.

      The "unbounded kindness" on the part of this jailer and his wife made them one of those exceptions, which has been noted by no less a personage than the world's immortal poet, Shakespeare, when he declared that it was:

- - - - “Seldom when
The steeled goaler is the friend of men."
But there is another exceptional case, in the annals of Baptist history, which proves this rule, and it affords us pleasure to record it: “The respectability of Bunyan's character and the propriety of his conduct, while in prison at Bedford, England, appear to have operated very powerfully on the mind of the jailer, who showed him much kindness, in permitting him to go out and visit his friends occasionally, and once to take a journey to London. The following anecdote is told respecting the jailer and Mr. Bunyan:

“'It being known to some of his persecutors, in London, that he was often out of prison, they sent an officer to talk with the jailer on the subject: and, in order to discover the fact, he was to get there in the middle of the night. Bunyan was at home with his family, but so restless that he could not sleep; he therefore acquainted his wife that, though the jailer had given him liberty to stay till the morning, yet, from his uneasiness, he must immediately return. He did so, and the jailer blamed him for coming in at such an unseasonable hour. Early in the morning the messenger came, and interrogating the jailer, said,
"•"Are all the prisoners safe?"
"•"Is John Bunyan safe?"
"•"Let me see him."

"'He was called, and appeared, and all was well. After the messenger was gone, the jailer, addressing Mr. Bunyan, said,

"Well, you may go in and out again just when you think proper, for you know when to return better than I can tell you"!" (Remarkable Providences (1865), pp. 167 and

      Taylor's Virginia Baptist Ministers (1860), page 127, gives this additional information about James Greenwood and, of course, it applies equally to William Loval:
"But he was not without consolation. The Lord was with him in his dungeon and lightened his chain.

"Nor was the time in his Master's service lost," to continue Dr. Taylor's account, “for while in prison he lifted up his voice and proclaimed liberty to the captives of sin. As the sound of salvation was heard from the grated windows of his cell the multitudes without wept, and many believed unto eternal life. Such was the effect of his ministrations that his foes judged it most politic to open the prison doors and let him go free.”

      On page 46 of a tract entitled 'Religious Liberty and The Baptists,' and published by the American Baptist Publication Society, of Philadelphia, there is this list of those said to have been imprisoned in King and Queen County:
"Greenwood, Waller, Ware, William Loval, John Shackelford and others, in King and Queen." This writer has been unable to find any authority for this statement save in the cases of James Greenwood and William Loval, who beyond doubt were imprisoned in King and Queen. It is true that all the others were imprisoned in some county, but not in King and Queen.
[From Lewis Peyton Little, Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia, 1938, pp. 314-317; via the Internet. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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