WHO WE ARE---OUR HISTORY
The early years of the church began in 1869 (four years after the Civil War). A group of freedmen in the community built a cabin in the forest. Prior to that, they worshipped under a bush arbor. Jeff Powell, a former slave owner gave them the use of land beside the creek in Quarrels Swamp. A large polar tree stood on the hill hence the name--Poplar Mount Baptist Church. Membership grew and so the need for a larger building for worship was recognized; thus land was purchased from another former slave owner, Warren Delbridge, to begin construction.
The early years found the membership growing and a young man, Reverend Guy Powell, was called to preach. The members desired a leader who was able to read and understand the Bible so they put their money together to send him to school. He was the first Son in the ministry. He encouraged the members to buy land, build homes and to become educated. Along with Reverend Powell was Harry C. Green who was from the area. He along with Reverend Powell sought to erect a school that would service African American children.
During Reverend Powell’s tenure, (1871-1900) the auditorium of the first brick building was erected. Also during Reverend Powell’s tenure, the Bethany Baptist Association was organized as Poplar Mount Baptist Church was the largest rural church in the area with a membership of approximately 600 persons. Following the death of Reverend Powell in 1900 Reverend Charles B. W. Godon (1902 – 1912) was called to preach. The third pastor called to preach was Reverend James E. Kaiser (1913-1914). Under each ministers, Deacons were ordained and installed. Following the death of Reverend Kaiser, his son Reverend Leonard Kaiser, son to Reverend James Kaiser was called to preach. His pastorate was short ending at the close of 1914.
The early 1900’s saw a change in membership as some men were called to serve in the armed forces. Reverend W. H. Wiggins was called to preach (1915 – 1929). He was the fifth pastor. The trials of the Civil War caused many to grow in their devotion to God which was evidenced in their praying and singing. During his tenure and along with help of some of the members the church steeple, the choir room, Deacons’ room, and the vestibule were constructed.
During the years of 1930 to 1914, Dr. E. D. Shands was called to preach. Attendance was high from the members as well as attendees from other area churches. Reverend P. W. Ross was then called to the ministry. The seventh pastor was Reverend E D. Harrell (1942 – 1949). During this time Reverend Hampton Pearson was licensed to preach and other Deacons were ordained. In 1950, Dr. W. H. Winston was called to preach. Significant events included participation in the NAACP organization, support of local candidates on the Board of Supervisors, contributions to Lott Carey foreign mission, contributions to Virginia Union University, and Virginia Seminary and College. Reverend Dr. W. H. Winston served as pastor until 1972.