Courtesy the Daily Progress. Photo by Mrs. R. J. Wojnicki.
Published in 1959, Mrs. R. J. Wojnicki’s article for Charlottesville’s Daily Progress, “Welch Quarrymen Organized Church In Buckingham,” highlighted the history of Arvon Presbyterian Church, as well as its many pastors and its membership.
She noted that the village of Arvon was founded in 1867, at the suggestion of John R. Williams, the Slate manufacturer. It was named in honor of Caernarvon, Wales. Before there was a church, meetings were held at the home of Michael E. Jones. Known as “The Old Castle,” the building was razed in 1958. Initially, services were conducted in Welsh to accommodate the immigrant population. As more villagers spoke English, both languages were used. In the early days, Sunday School meetings were held at boarding houses. John W. Edwards erected a “Brush Arbor” at his home, used for summer gatherings.
Mrs. Wojnicki continued: “About 1880 a community house was built on land given to the village by William Pierce. In this building, religious services were held. The Rev. William S. Thompson, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, preached once a month.”*
Later, Rev. M. B. Lambkin took over as pastor of Trinity and headed a committee assisted by elders W. W. Holman and John W. Risson, who were sent to Arvon to organize the new church. This was accomplished on September 26, 1885 and the first elders were W. G. Edwards (Clerk), William Pierce, John McLave, and Thomas R. Jeffrey. Mrs. Wojnicki went on to list the church’s charter members, including many familiar Arvonia surnames such as Pitts, Jones, Morgan, and Pierce.
Click here for more about “The Old Castle.”
*According to Bob Jeffery, the land was given by his ancestor, Elizabeth Saes Pierce, wife of William Pierce.
Coming next: Arvon Presbyterian Church, The Early Years