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Ketoctin Baptist Church
Loudoun County, Virginia

      The name Ketoctin has been spelled a variety of ways throughout the years. The name was taken from the Indian word for the stream that flows nearby and is reputed to mean “the ancient wooded hill.” Records indicate that when the church was constituted in 1751, the church was named Ketocton. Since 1886 the spelling has been changed to Ketoctin.1

      The church is a one-story brick building laid in five-course American bond on a low uncoursed, rubble native field stone foundation. The standing-seam metal roof has a front gable with deep cornice returns. The date 1854 is painted on the brick underneath the front gable. All windows have twelve-over-twelve sash, double-hung wooden windows on the ground level and twelve-over-eight sash, double-hung windows overhead. Louvered wooden shutters are attached to the windows and most surrounds have original pintles. Shutter fasteners and forged hooks for keeping the shutters open can be seen on some of the exterior architraves.

      Land grants for Loudoun County were made by Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax and some of the earliest settlers appeared in 1731-33. John Covill received a land patent in 1741, a portion of which later became the site for Ketoctin Baptist Church. This part of Virginia east of the Blue Ridge Mountains was originally part of Stafford County established in 1664. The county was divided several times, forming Prince William County in 1731, Fairfax County in 1742 and Loudoun County in 1757.[fn] Several denominations preceded the Baptists in establishing churches in Loudoun County. Among them were the Anglicans, Quakers, Presbyterian, and Lutheran congregations. Records indicate that the Baptists in Virginia originated from three sources. “The first were emigrants from England, who, about the year 1714 settled in the southeastern parts of the State (the General Baptists). About 1743 another party came from Maryland and formed a settlement in the northwest (the Regular Baptists) . . . A third party (the Separate Baptists or New Lights) came from New England.” Ketoctin Baptist Church was formed from the second group.

      In 1750 Owen Thomas and Benjamin Miller from the Philadelphia Baptist Association were appointed “to write a letter to some people in Fairfax, County, Virginia, in behalf of the association.” The Philadelphia Baptist Association was founded in Pennsylvania in 1707 to provide leadership for the Baptist movement in the colonies. The association appointed Thomas and Miller “to travel to Virginia pursuant to two applications,” one from the Mill Creek General Baptist Church in Frederick County (now in Berkeley County, West Virginia) and the other from Ketoctin. Both churches were received into the association in 1754. Several records indicate that John Thomas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, helped to organize the Ketoctin Baptist Church and was its first missionary pastor. Later the church extended an invitation to John Gano who had accompanied Thomas on one of his visits. Gano accepted ordination and traveled to Virginia. These two missionary preachers provided services to the Ketoctin Church through the mid-1750s.Ketoctin Baptist Church stands as a monument to over two hundred and fifty years of worship among the people of western Loudoun County. The Baptist church was first noted when the denomination was constituted on October 8, 1751. It is believed that two log meeting houses were built on the present site, 1756 and 1780 respectively, followed by a stone meeting house, built between 1800 and 1815. The stone building preceded the current brick building which was completed in 1854.

      Five years before the first log meeting house was built on this spot in 1756, Ketoctin Baptist was founded by a mission preacher, John Thomas of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile the Mill Creek Baptist Church received a resident minister around 1756, John Garrard [Gerrard]. After the defeat of General Braddock, Garrard and his congregation fled from Frederick County (now Berkeley County, West Virginia) across the Blue Ridge Mountains into the area of Ketoctin Church. Around 1756 Garrard was invited by the church to become the first resident pastor, which he accepted, and the two congregations were united. Most likely the first gatherings of the congregation occurred in people’s homes, and it is believed that the first church was made of logs and was built on the present site around 1756. Records indicate that in 1763, Nicholass and Mary Ozborn conveyed land for the Baptist Church.

      The deed states: Grantor Nicholass and Mary Ozborn of Loudoun County, first part, and Peter Romine and Henry Lloyd (Frederick County) . . . two acres or 250 poles for the use of the ______ Baptist Church where now the meeting house is built . . .. After the danger of Indian attacks had passed, the Mill Creek congregation returned to their church in Frederick County between 1757-1760. Ketoctin Baptist Church then called John Marks as its pastor. Marks had been a member of John Thomas’s home church in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, prior to coming to Virginia.


[From Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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