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As the Story Goes

The year was 1871, and the country had come to its senses and ended a devastating civil war, as well as the atrocious, hideous, and appalling institution of slavery. After passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the constitution guaranteeing, at least on paper, the rights of all men, a group of former slaves (our ancestors) who had recognized their freedom in Christ long before that time left the balconies of North Pamunkey Church and Macedonia Christian Church and organized a worship area of their own.

They held worship services in a bush harbor under a black oak tree. Though bales of straw were their pews, they were fervent and fearless in their praise and worship to God, who had brought them through the dark, harsh, and inhumane years of slavery.

Old Shady Grove Church

Desiring to follow their vision of greater freedom from slavery and poverty, our ancestors had a vision of a much better life for their children. They knew that a better life could be attained by staying faithful to God and abiding in His words.

Wanting to build a "House of God," they purchased a track of land from Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Sallie Woolfork for $75.00. They continued to hold worship services in the bush harbor for one year, as a growing membership soon enabled them to construct a building that faced west. In 1872, the Reverend Coleman Gillum proudly led the congregation from the bush harbor into the church. Thus, "The Shady Grove Baptist Church" was established. Later, the first church building was completely torn down and a new church was erected, this time facing south.

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Shady Grove School

Shady Grove School History