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. According to the Church history I have, F. T. Baptist originally was "Ragged Mountain Baptist Church." Yes, it was much nearer the mountain and baptisms were performed at Sharp Rock (which was destroyed by DMV when they "improved" the bridge across the Hughes). According to this history, when the church burned, and land, including a spring, was donated, the church was rebuilt in its current location. The letters "F. T." were carved on a tree by the spring (as they were on many trees throughout the valley once owned by Francish Thornton). At that time, the church was renamed "F. T. Baptist."
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.