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March 5, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part II

Enon Baptist Church. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.


Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part I


George Braxton Taylor’s collected biographies of Virginia Baptist Ministers is a marvelous resource and some editions can be found at Google Books. According to his obituary in Fincastle Herald (12 March 1942), Taylor was born in Staunton, Virginia and spent his boyhood in Rome with his missionary parents. He received his B. A. from Richmond College (1881), graduated from Southern Baptist Seminary (1886), and received his D. D. degree from Mercer University (1894).

Taylor’s biography of Rev. Boatwright continues:

Before the War he was pastor of Enon and Brown’s, in the James River Association, and Scottsville, in the Albemarle, and, having been married on September 5, 1865, in Cumberland County, to Miss Maria Elizabeth Woodruff, Rev. Wm. H. Taylor performing the ceremony, in 1866 he took charge of Lewisburg and other churches in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The children of this union were F. W., Martha Susan (now Mrs. A. Clark), Mary Elizabeth (now Mrs. R. M. Booth), Sarah Look (now Mrs. Sands Gayle), and John B. During his pastorate of some three years there he completed the repairs on the Lewisburg Meeting-House and “secured a deed of gift to the house of worship at the Sweet Springs.”

Rev. Boatwright’s influence reached far beyond Central Virginia, including many years spent in Marion in Smyth County, Virginia where he increasingly participated in higher education. Taylor continues:

Marion, in the Lebanon Association, was Mr. Boatwright’s next field of labor. Here was his home and his church for three different pastorates, and, all told, for seventeen years, a longer period than he spent as pastor anywhere else. While at Marion he also preached, during his first pastorate, for the South Fork, Chatham Hill: and Sugar Grove Churches, and during his second term for Friendship and Greenfield Churches. Mr. Boatwright always retained “the impress of his alma mater,” was ever interested in education, and while at Marion taught in the Marion Academy and the Marion Female College. He was one of the first trustees of the Southwest Virginia Institute (now Intermont College), and later of the Jeter Female Institute, Bedford City. In writing once for the Herald on the question of ordination, he said, referring to the Marion period of his life, that he had had “some bitter experience in trying, as one of a presbytery, to keep out men whom I thought unqualified for the ministry.” Dr. Ryland is doubtless right when he says: “At this place the best work of his life was done. He not only built up the Marion Church but strengthened other churches in Smyth and Washington Counties.”


For more about Enon, click here: Buckingham Churches: Enon Baptist Church

Coming Next: Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part III

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