First baptisms in the Shenandoah
1770 – A BAPTIST PREACHER IMPRISONED FOR PREACHING WITHOUT A LICENSE IN VIRGINIA IN 1770 – February 26, 1770, was the beginning of the three-month imprisonment of John Pickett, mentioned in the entry for January 14, in the Fauquier County, VA Order Book for 1766, pages 242 and 243. The prison was a two room log building 18’ long and 16’ wide, dovetailed, with layered wood of good mortar between each log. There was a brick wall between the rooms with a fireplace in each room, secured with grates above and below to prevent the prisoners from escaping up the chimney. The only ventilation was a window 12 inches square in each room. These colonial prisons were like ovens in the summer and freezers in the winter, certainly not “country clubs” of our day in comparison. Many of those early preachers lost their health from these conditions and never recovered their strength. The opposition of John Pickett was at times fierce. Some times when he would preach in a grove of trees in the Culpepper area the, Anglican Church parson would appear with his supporters, sit a few yards in front of Pickett, and take notes of what he considered to be false doctrine. The parson would call him a schismatic, a broacher of false doctrines, and one that held up damnable errors. This was done to hold him up to public scorn. Often it backfired, in that it caused people to be sympathetic toward Picket. At that time, many were disgusted with the state hirelings, among whom there were those of disrepute. Some who were attracted by this confrontation and debate were converted to Christ. After Pickett was released his zeal led him to continue his labors around Culpepper and over the Blue Ridge. It is reported that the first baptisms to take place in the Shenandoah, there were as many as fifty who followed there Lord in this ordinance.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 79.
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