To John Witherspoon
Mount Vernon 23d Augt 1786.
The last Post brought me your favor of the 14th. You have been misinformed, respecting the congregation of Pohick. It is of the Episcopal Church & at this time has an incumbent; of which I give you the earliest notice for the information of Mr Wilson.
A Church above this, formerly under the same ministry, is, I believe, unprovided; but of what religion the people thereabout now are, I am unable to say—most probably a medlay; as they have had Methodist, & Baptist preachers of all kinds among them.1 With respect, I am Sir, &c.
1. Lee Massey, who had been rector of Truro Parish since 1767, seems to have remained officially the rector until his death in 1814, although he ceased to preach because of a speech impairment (Slaughter, Truro Parish, description begins Philip Slaughter. The History of Truro Parish in Virginia. Edited by Edward L. Goodwin. Philadelphia, 1908. description ends 93; Goodwin, Colonial Church in Virginia, description begins Edward Lewis Goodwin. The Colonial Church in Virginia: With Biographical Sketches of the First Six Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia, And Other Historical Papers, together with Brief Biographical Sketches of the Colonial Clergy of Virginia. Milwaukee, 1927. description ends 292). Services were held only sporadically at Pohick, the Lower Church in the parish, after the Revolution, and ministers seem to have been brought in from time to time to preach. GW notes that he attended Pohick on 2 Oct. 1785 when James Thomson, minister of Leeds Parish in Fauquier County, preached. He attended again in 1786 and 1788 (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:200, 5:51–52, 411). Ministers’ salaries were no longer paid by parish taxes but rather by subscription of members of the individual churches.
The Upper Church of Truro Parish, usually called Payne’s Church, was in a less densely populated area and seems to have been little used after the Revolution. Baptists took possession of the abandoned church early in the nineteenth century and used it until the winter of 1862–63 when Federal troops tore it down in order to build chimneys and hearths for their camp from its bricks (Slaughter, Truro Parish, description begins Philip Slaughter. The History of Truro Parish in Virginia. Edited by Edward L. Goodwin. Philadelphia, 1908. description ends 68–69).