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January 30, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Churches: Smyrna Church


Smyrna United Methodist Church (Courtesy Historic Buckingham) 

Another of the nineteen Buckingham County churches mentioned in Thomas Baldwin’s Gazetteer of the United States (1854) is likely Smyrna Church, located near Sheppards on Route 15 in the southeastern part of the county.  According to the Virginia Historical Survey, it was founded in 1825, gifted to The Virginia Methodist Conference by William Sheppard.  In her 1937 survey, Mrs. Rosa Garnett Williams goes on to say that the original church was torn down in 1883 and a new one was built, “Using the same rock foundation and old sills of the original church, they are said to have been of heart pine, and were twelve inches square, hewn by hand.”

The sketch above comes from “The Courthouse Burned,” Book I by Dr. Margaret A. Pennington and Lorna S. Scott.  In it, the authors describe Smyrna Church as being founded in 1773 on land donated by Zadeck Lackland. In 1837, it was moved to its present site on land secured from the Sheppard-Crute-Jones estates.

I welcome any and all comments to help clarify these varying descriptions.  History is full of them!


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  1. Vic / Oct 23 2013 9:57 pm

    Zadock Lackland (1757-1827) was my 4th great grandfather. We believe he was born in Frederick County, MD and died on Apr 3, 1827 in Buckingham County, Va.

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 24 2013 7:34 am

      Vic, Thanks for commenting and for the information about Zadock Lackland.

    • Bob Gnuse / Nov 4 2016 5:47 pm

      I have been working on genealogy of descendants of John Lackland who died in 1780, the father of Zadock. I have a lot of info, especially about descendants of James Lackland, brother of Zadock. I would be happy to share my info and would love to get more info on descendants of Zadock.
      Bob Gnuse

      • Joanne Yeck / Nov 5 2016 12:09 pm

        Bob, Many thanks for your comment. Hopefully, other Lackland researchers will find it. Joanne

      • Holly Huckeba / Jul 26 2021 9:08 am

        Just came upon this thread. I am actively researching early Lacklands, and have gathered quite a bit on Zadock and children, but am short on connections to the elder John. Would love to share resources with others researching these early Buckingham County, VA and Frederick County, MD, Lacklands. I can be reached at –Holly

      • Joanne Yeck / Jul 26 2021 1:31 pm


        Many thanks for your comment. Here’s hoping another Lackland researcher sees your query.


  2. Ed Ayres / Jan 31 2013 11:04 am

    The original site of “Lackland’s Meeting House” was east of Route 15, just north of the Appomattox River, off State Route 683. One could still identify the burial ground in the 1960s. There was a strong Methodist community in this part of Buckingham in the early 1800s. In the 1820s the congregation built a new church at the present site, which was then replaced in the 1880s by the structure standing today. Tradition holds that materials salvaged from the 1820s building were used to build Oak Grove Baptist, an African-American church a little south of Smyrna.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 31 2013 11:32 am

      Ed, This is a great addition. Thanks!

  3. Bill Davidson / Jan 30 2013 11:48 am

    William Zadock/Zadeck Lackland (born about 1828; he was a son of a James Lackland) married Susan Elizabeth Davidson (born about 1830) as his second wife. Susan was a daughter of Baker W. Davidson and Ann Hamner Cobbs. I would assume that the above William Z. Lackland was a member of the same family as the “early” Zadeck Lackland mentioned in your post.

    Baker W. Davidson died in Buckingham Co., VA, shortly after the great courthouse fire in 1869, and as such, his Will is one of the first Wills that can found today in the Buckingham Courthouse. By the way, it is interesting to note that his wife Ann Hamner Cobbs was a descendant of the same overall Hamner family as the later Earl Hamner who wrote “The Waltons.” Also, Ann Hamner Cobbs’ apparent half-sister named Amanda Cobbs married a John Lackland.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 30 2013 12:06 pm

      Zadock/Zadeck Lackland sure is a mouthful! There must be only one family! Thanks, as always, for these genealogical tidbits.


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