Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Fort Defiance in Augusta County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Augusta Stone Church

American Presbyterian and Reformed Historical Site

 
 
Augusta Stone Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 25, 2015
1. Augusta Stone Church Marker
Inscription.  The Augusta Stone Church, Virginia's oldest Presbyterian church in continuous use west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, opened on 22 Jan. 1749. It replaced a log meetinghouse built shortly after the congregation's founding in 1740. At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, Pastor John Craig and members of the church fortified the structure with log palisades and watchtowers to defend against Indian attack. This defensive position inspired the name Fort Defiance adopted by the community that grew around the church. The building was enlarged and remodeled in 1921-22, and a new wing was added in 1956.
 
Erected 2015 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number A-118/84.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionWars, US Indian. In addition, it is included in the American Presbyterian and Reformed Historic Sites ⛪ series list.
 
Location. 38° 14.293′ N, 78° 58.46′ W. Marker is in Fort Defiance, Virginia, in Augusta County. Marker is on
Augusta Stone Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 25, 2015
2. Augusta Stone Church Marker
Lee Highway (U.S. 11) just south of County Route 616, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Defiance VA 24437, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Rev. John Craig (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Augusta Stone Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Augusta Military Academy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Quarles Walk (approx. 0.2 miles away); This 1886 Bell (approx. 0.2 miles away); Augusta Military Academy Museum (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Augusta Military Academy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dwight D. Eisenhower Visits Augusta Military Academy (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Defiance.
 
Regarding Augusta Stone Church. Augusta Stone Church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. This church is also one of 445 American Presbyterian and Reformed Historical Sites registered between 1973 and 2003 by the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS), headquartered in Philadelphia. Approved sites received a metal plaque featuring John Calvin’s seal and the site’s registry number (PHS marker location unknown).

The following text is taken from the Presbyterian Historical Society website:

In 1747, under the leadership of Rev. John Craig, the Augusta congregation began building the Stone Church,
Augusta Stone Church image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 25, 2015
3. Augusta Stone Church
a religious sanctuary and a fort for early settlers. It is the oldest Presbyterian house of worship in continuous use in Virginia. The community around the church was called Fort Defiance in honor of the steadfast and brave Presbyterian settlers. The building was first remodeled in 1855 to accommodate a growing congregation and the increased enrollment of the Augusta Military Academy, whose students worshipped in the church since the beginning of the academy. The small stone Session House, originally attached, was rebuilt adjacent to the church in 1847. The Session House was converted into a museum of church heirlooms in 1975.

 
Also see . . .
1. Augusta Stone Presbyterian Church History. “In 1755, after Braddock's defeat, the Valley settlers were most vulnerable to attack by the Indians. Many were in favor of fleeing to the safety of eastern Virginia, but the Rev. Craig persuaded them to hold fast and to build a stockade around the church. Although the Indians never actually attacked the church, the small congregation frequently fled to Stone Church for protection when the alarm was spread that the Indians were on the warpath. Legend has it that the name Fort Defiance derives from the steadfastness and bravery demonstrated by these early Presbyterian settlers.” (Submitted on September 27, 2015.) 

2. Marker Dedication Press Release
View of Augusta Stone Church from the Roadside Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 25, 2015
4. View of Augusta Stone Church from the Roadside Marker
. (Submitted on September 27, 2015.)
3. Augusta Stone Church NRHP Nomination page. (Submitted on August 20, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 27, 2015. This page has been viewed 467 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on August 30, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 27, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement
Feb. 25, 2021