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OUR HISTORY

Founded in 1740, Augusta Stone is the oldest Presbyterian house of worship in continuous use in Virginia.  For an informative look at our 275th Anniversary celebration, go to You Tube "275 Years at Augusta Stone Church."

 
 

Dr. John Craig arrived in Augusta County, Virginia in 1740, at the age of 31. Augusta Stone Church, also known affectionately as Old Stone Church, grew under the leadership of Dr. Craig. He mentions in his diary that he had baptized 133 people in 1740, and in 1741 baptized another 82.


The congregation first worshiped in a log building in what we call the Founders Cemetery. The congregation soon outgrew the log structure. One of his descendants, Lillian Craig, has written that he stood alongside the doorway of the log structure and after praying for guidance, saw a glimmer of sunshine on a nearby hill about a quarter of a mile away, and that is where the present stone structure now stands.


The present building was dedicated on January 22, 1749 and is the oldest Presbyterian church in Virginia. Other historians have written that Augusta Stone is the oldest house of worship in the Shenandoah Valley. The cornerstone was laid in 1747. In his prayer that day for the dedication, Dr. Craig wrote, “This is the day set apart, my friends, to lay the cornerstone of the first church west of the Blue Ridge mountains, over which I pronounce this benediction. May He who is the Layer of this corner stone prosper the work and countenance this hope as long as it shall be used for His glory.”


Because of potential Indian raids in the community, Dr. Craig urged the community to build a fort surrounding the church. “They required me to go before them in the work, which I did cheerfully, though it cost me fully one-third of my estate. The people very readily followed, and my congregation in less than 2 months was well fortified,”


Dr. Craig not only was the pastor of Augusta Stone, but stated in his autobiography that his congregation was 20 miles wide and 30 miles long.


He died on April 21, 1774 and is buried in a tomb in the Founders Cemetery. Legend states that his tomb is located just above the location of the altar in the log structure. His successors, Dr. William Wilson , and Dr. Conrad Speece are also buried in the original cemetery.


In 1855 both the exterior and interior of the building were changed. Additional enlargements were made in 1922 and in 1956 when Sunday school rooms , office, and fellowship hall were built. The sanctuary was again remodeled in 1968, and has remained virtually the same since then.