History

Jerusalem Baptist Church has a rich history that predates the Revolutionary War and the Constitution of the United States. Originally founded as Payne’s Church, the church’s roots began as part of the Church of England (today’s Episcopal church) in 1766. It remained Payne’s Church until 1840 when Jerusalem Baptist Church was formed.

Revolutionary War

Prior to the Revolutionary War, the only church buildings available for church services were those built by the Church of England in colonial times. In 1766, Col. George Washington and the vestry of Truro Parish authorized the construction of a church in our region. Payne’s Church became the first brick church structure in Fairfax County. In his diary, Col. Washington noted that the vestry even agreed to accept the new church building for use in September 1768 although it was not quite complete. Following the Revolutionary War, Virginia twice passed legislation declaring that all property of the Church of England was forfeited to the state. As a result, churches of other denominations were allowed to obtain these properties and use them for their worship.

Civil War

In 1840, Jerusalem Baptist Church was constituted and began to meet in the old Payne’s Church until the outbreak of the Civil War. In the summer of 1861, the Confederates occupied the region and used the church briefly as a hospital. Later when over taken by Union forces in the winter of 1862, the original church structure was torn down, with the building’s bricks used to prepare winter quarters for the Union soldiers. After the Civil War, members of Jerusalem Baptist Church were anxious to have a meeting place once again, so in 1866, the original facility was replaced by a small white frame structure that still stands today.

Graveyard

Jerusalem Baptist Church is the custodian of a well-maintained cemetery that dates back to the time of Payne’s Church according to the buildings survey. In addition to the many gravestones scattered about the cemetery, there are several standing, uninscribed slate markers, some wooden markers, and many fieldstones. A few gravestones are in the bushes at the rear of the cemetery. The gravestones in the cemetery have been read several times: in 1924, 1955, 1973, 1977, 1988, 1993, 1994, and 2006. Find out more about who is buried in the the Jerusalem Baptist Church Cemetery at FindAGrave.com
 
***For a complete history of the church, a church history book has been written and is available through the church office.
Find out more about who is buried in the the Jerusalem Baptist Church Cemetery at FindAGrave.com