Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

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Photo Credit: Preservation Piedmont

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church was established in Earlysville in 1875.

The church bears the later name of the proposed town of Traveller's Grove, the site of which was situated nearby.


Built in 1875, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church is a wood-frame church building. For 136 years the church was the location of worship for its church community, until 2012, when it moved to a new location. The site is now owned by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.

Preservation Campaign

Following the relocation of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church congregation, the Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Airport announced its intention to demolish the structure in light of a $3.2 million[1] expansion project. The building has been identified by Preservation Piedmont as historically significant and, in collaboration with the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church as well as the airport, is seeking a buyer for the building who will oversee its relocation.[2][3]


The first worship of the church was held in a log cabin on the farm of Andrew Farrish under the leadership of Reverend T.W. Woodfolk.

In 1874, Beverly Brown, Horace Wilson, Edward Allen, Joe Sorrell and their families and other members and friends (both black and white) purchased a site for the church. They appointed Allen and Sorrell to the task of locating the best possible spot to build their church on the land.

The original church was established about 100 yards from the proposed site, under a brush harbor on Walker Jefferson’s farm. On that site, a small house was built in which the church's members worshipped for many years. While the membership prospered under the leadership of Rev. Woodfolk, there soon became a need for a larger worship place. The result was the original structure, with the old building then being used as a serving hall and for youth gatherings until it was torn down in later years.

As Pleasant Grove’s membership flourished, the church leaders decided that another church was needed. Out of this need, the Evergreen Baptist Church was established in 1884, thus giving Pleasant Grove the title of its mother church.

From 1874 until February 1907, Rev. Woodfolk headed a group of followers, including Beverly Brown, Ceasar Southall, George Sorrell, Webb Mills, Charles Hawkins, Edward Allen, Eugene Goggins, Charles Thomas, James Williams, Wallace Canady Sr., and Wallace Canady Jr., Walker Jefferson, Joseph Sorrell, Winston Estes, Herbert Wood, George Lewis, Frank Williams, Isaac Smith, Joseph Mills and James Jefferson and their families. From this large grouping, the following ministers evolved: The Reverends Charles Hawkins, D.S. Woodfolk, Dudley Givens, Isaac Kennedy, James L. Carr, Jackson Payne, Chris Early and others.

After the death of Rev. Woodfolk, Pleasant Grove possessed the following ministers: The Reverends D. L. Gofney, Warner Jones, George Blakey, T.R. Hanner, James Wright, Maxwell Minis, Amy C. Reid, and our present Pastor, Rev. Shirley Chapman, and Assistant Minister, Rev. Ralph Carr. Much history that was recorded was lost, picking up again with the recorded history beginning in 1977 as was recorded by Shirley Barbour-Strother.

In February 1977, the Rev. Amy C. Reid came to Pleasant Grove as a supply pastor. In January 1978, she became pastor-elect, and then became pastor on June 11, 1978.         

On April 9, 1978, George Barbour was put on trial as a Deacon and was later installed. On May 14, 1978, Deacon Roy and Deaconess Ruth Dyer joined as watch-care members. On July 8, 1978, Deacon Roy Dyer was installed on Board of Trustees. Also in July, Deaconess Shirley Barbour became the Church Clerk, and the tithe box was installed.

The following individuals served on the Deacon Ministry: Deacons Woodsie Hawkins, William Miller, Wallace Kennedy, Jr., Sr., John Allen, John Jackson, Sr., Alfonsa Kennedy, Clifton Hawkins, George Nicholas, McKinley Goggins, Aubrey Blakey, Sr., John Dyer, George Barbour, James Thomas, Gregory Thomas, Ralph Carr and associate deacons, Nathaniel Wright, Sr., and George Golden, Sr. Additionally, a Deaconess Ministry was formed, with a selection of members including Lessie Hawkins, Ruth Dyer, Catherine Thomas, and currently Shirley Barbour-Strother, Yvette Care and Sylvia Hawkins-Scott.  Associate Deaconess has been held by Marie Golden and Nancy Wright.

Sunday School Superintendents have included Winton Estes, William Minor, Joseph Mills, James Jefferson, Woodsie Hawkins, John Allen, Wallace Kennedy, Jr., Clifton Hawkins, Ruth Dyer, and Catherine Thomas.

Church organists have included Frances Minor, Eliza Kennedy, Mable Miller, Hattie Nicholas, Lessie Hawkins (for both senior and junior choirs), Thelma Thomas, and presently Ms. Shirley Barbour-Strother (for senior choir), and Ms. Debbie Terrell (for the Pleasant Grvoe Gospel and men choirs).

On October 22, 1994, the Rev. Shirley H. Chapman of Cobham was installed as Pastor and still leads Pleasant Grove to this day. Working alongside her for much of this time is the Rev. Ralph L. Carr, who was ordained on August 14, 2010, and then voted in as the Assistant Pastor by the members in January 2017.[4]

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Photo Credit: Preservation Piedmont


The original Pleasant Grove Baptist Church structure is currently located at 3235 Earlysville Road.

Coordinates:Erioll world.svg.png 38°07′36″N 78°27′35″W / 38.126742°N 78.459737°W / 38.126742; -78.459737


  1. Web. Intention to Impose & Use PFC Application Number 20, Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Airport, May 2, 2012, retrieved August 21, 2012.
  2. Preservation Piedmont. Action Still Needed: Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. Preservation Piedmont. N.p., 18 Aug. 2012. Web. 21 Aug. 2012. <>
  3. Web. Church ISO new home, Bill Emory, The Hook, August 1, 2012, retrieved August 21, 2012.
  4. Web. History, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, 2019