Fauquier Democrat Article

from June 9, 1955

by Richard d. Ritter


The Warrenton Methodist Church, established in 1818 has served as a hospital and a courthouse and has survived a split in the ranks of its congregation.Now in its 43rd year on Winchester St. the church is planning to convert the adjoining parsonage into additional Sunday School classrooms. 


A deed of September 21, 1818 transferred a lot on South Fifth Street to the Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This lot is not the location for a Negro apartment house near Lee Street. The first Methodist Church was anunplastered wooded building, whitewashed inside and out. A parsonage was build 19 years later at 214 Winchester Street. 


In 1847 the Methodist Episcopal Church erected a new brick building on the northeast corner of Culpeper and Lee Streets. The former parsonage was then traded on March 6, 1848 to Eliza Kemper for a brick house on Culpeper Street opposite the church. This house was torn down to make way for an addition to the Fauquier Democrat building. 


After the Court House burned on May 23, 1853, the basement of the church has used for holding court until a new county structure could be build. This red brick church which had a rear balcony for its Negro members, was used as a hospital by the Federal army. 


The congregation was split in 1850 by aa dispute that caused a group to join the Northern Methodist Church. Although the faction built a church at the site of the present Town Hall, the organization was short­ lived. In a blistering final sermon in 1859, the minister called for the church to be turned into a dance hall. His wish was fulfilled. 


From 1866-1869, J. D. Blackwell was pastor. His son, R. E. Blackwell, born in Warrenton, later was associated with Randolph-Macon College from 1902-1938 as an English professor and president. 


The growing church obtained property at 110 Smith Street for a parsonage in 1872 and kept possession until 1903. This is now the home of Dr. 8; M. Haley.