F.T. Baptist Church as viewed
South Porch of The Conyers House
Historic F. T. Baptist Church
The F.T. Baptist Church was organized In 1778 as the Ragged Mountain Baptist Society with meetings being held in a grove of beech trees on the banks of the Hughes River in a log house at Sharp Rock. This was at a time when the Anglican Church was the church of Virginia with taxes given to the church to look after the poor and needy. The formality of the Anglican Church was not as attractive to everyone and the Baptist movement took hold. The Baptist were less cerebral and preached more from the heart and appealed more to less privileged country people than the high church patterned after the English Anglican influence which attracted the local gentry. Early Baptist preachers were jailed in Culpeper for espousing differing opinions from their pulpits. By 1804, this congregation had moved down stream to F. T. Village and had changed the name of the church to the F. T. Baptist Church. Minutes of 1805 make reference to repairs needed on the building in F. T. Village. The F. T. Baptist Church was never the Frances Thornton Baptist Church. F. T. Valley has never been Fort Valley as MapQuest may have you believe. Whenever we hear such references, we know the speaker is new to Rappahannock or someone who wants to aggrandize the names
F. T. refers to Francis Thornton who was given large land grants in the area from 1730 to 1750 by King George III. Thornton's legacy is prominent in the county as Thornton Gap, Thornton River, Thornton Hill Farm, Thornton Gap Baptist Church, and the Thornton Hill Hounds are all named for him. Of course F. T. Valley and the church are too. Chances are trees on Thornton's land were marked with his carved initials to delineate his borders. When we hear reference to Fort Valley Road instead of F. T. Valley Road we know we are chatting with visitors to Rappahannock County.