History at a Glance


Click on the picture above for more information about the history of Jamestown Presbyterian Church.


 Click on the picture above for more information about the  Jamestown Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden.


Click on the picture above for more information about the Cemetery at  Jamestown Presbyterian Church.

The Rich History of Jamestown Presbyterian Church


In 1894 Mr. E. J. Campbell from Pennsylvania traded a Clydesdale horse for 100 acres of land here in our community and generously donated two acres in May of 1895 for the purpose of establishing a church. Sunday school classes were started in an old store across the street and during the winter of 1895-96 the original part of the church was constructed. The men furnished the timber and labor. Many money-raising projects were undertaken to aid the building fund. The minister, a Methodist, came from Surry each week. In May, 1896, "Powhatan Temple" was dedicated. The original structure had a low ceiling with a stove pipe extending up through the center of the roof leading from a cast iron stove which furnished heat. That spring a reed organ was purchased and the first wedding ceremony was performed.

The church was used as a school house in 1896-97. By 1901 attendance began to decline and the minister stopped coming. In 1905 several new families moved into the community and there was new interest in a place of worship. The church was renamed Five Forks Church. Baptist and Methodist ministers serving churches in Williamsburg came to conduct services twice a month.

In the late teens, Dr. W. W. Powell, who was serving Williamsburg Presbyterian Church became interested in the church at Five Forks and agreed to conduct services every other Sunday afternoon. Norfolk Presbyterian approved and officially organized Five Forks Presbyterian Church in 1920. A decade later the name of "Jamestown Presbyterian Church" was adopted.

Interest and attendance continued to grow and by 1926 additional space was needed. The ceiling was raised and two classrooms were added at both the front and back. The basement was dug in 1933. The men of the church engaged in the task of raising the whole structure and digging a full basement. A serious seepage problem caused this project to be referred to as "Emurian's Pool", after The Rev. S. K. Emurian who came as the supply Minister in 1933.

The first manse was built on Ironbound Road in 1949, by the sharing of the congregation, in contributing land, lumber, furnishings and many hours of labor. In 1950 a well was dug at the church. (Imagine no running water until 1950). In 1952 the church got its first full time minister. For over 30 years the minister was shared with other churches, some as far away as Gloucester. A new education building was constructed and dedicated in October 1959. A new and larger manse was built on Ferncliff Drive in 1963. The church has been self-supporting since 1957 and has helped support several missionaries since 1961. 

The first woman to be elected to the Diaconate was Mrs. Virginia Bowen in 1964. The first woman to be elected to the Session as a Ruling Elder was Mrs. Mary Andrews in 1967.

In 1988 a special planning committee was formed to examine the church as it was and the direction it should take. Should it stay a cozy little  church or expand to embrace its ever growing community? In 1990 a building committee was formed. The first financial campaign of the building fund was kicked off in January of 1991.  Many fund raising projects were undertaken to aid the building fund. The Women of the Church sponsored bazaars and yard sales. Many months of research and work went into efforts to obtain a clear title to the property. 

The ground breaking ceremony for the new facilities was held on May 22, 1994. In August of 1994 the manse was sold and the proceeds from the sale went into the building fund. Renovation work on the education building was started in October and the congregation moved into the new 300 seat sanctuary in June of 1995.

The large cross in the sanctuary was made from a tree that was cut down to make room for our new facilities. A tree given new purpose, and an ever present symbol of our roots. Buried under a pillar of our new sign is a time capsule, put there to commemorate our 100th anniversary as a place of worship. To be opened in 2020, it's an ever present symbol of our future. 

The highest point in Five Forks is the steeple of the new Jamestown Presbyterian Church. We have a modern new building connected to a completely renovated education wing, but the original old frame church building is still being used. Its basement was filled in, it was moved and updated with siding, and still serves as our fellowship hall and as our reminder of the rich history of Jamestown Presbyterian Church.

The members of this congregation have been dedicated, determined and faithful throughout the past one hundred and twenty-four years in carrying out God's work and we hope to continue in that strong tradition in the future.

(This history was taken for the most part from the 1995 calendar prepared by the XYZers, the history prepared for the fiftieth anniversary celebration, and several church directories. Many thanks to those unknown authors.)

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Jamestown Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden

A Memorial Garden is more than a final resting place for loved ones; it is also a place for quiet reflection and thanksgiving for the promise of eternal life. From earliest times Christians have been buried within the church itself or in a churchyard cemetery where it is near the gathering place of their families. Today, with limited space available and the common acceptance of cremation, this has led to the development of church memorial gardens.

The Jamestown Presbyterian Memorial Garden is an inspirational area, a living garden with no visible evidence of the placement of cremains, set within and connected to the existing cemetery. With a beautiful cross as a tangible symbol of communion and benches provided for prayer and meditation, it allows the church body and friends to refresh their remembrances in a living memorial of natural beauty as part of regular worship.

A bronze plaque placed on a pedestal to the right of the living garden will state who is interred within. A separate brass plaque will be placed in the Church alcove stating those who have contributed to the Memorial Garden as memorials or donations and the names of those interred. The plot plan shows a grid of the garden, including both individual plots and scatter areas. Members and former members of the congregation and their immediate relatives will be eligible to have their ashes interred in the garden. When exceptions are desired, these are to be presented to Session by the Cemetery Committee for approval. Ashes placed in the Memorial Garden are considered final. No containers, individual markers, plaques, or cut flowers real or artificial are permitted. The maintenance of the garden is provided by volunteers and through contributions for perpetual care and shall not draw from the church’s operating budget. All monies so designated shall be used exclusively for the operation and improvement of the Memorial Garden.

Families who choose to use the garden for burial will attend a short prayer service during which the ashes are either poured directly into a prepared hole in the ground or scattered within a scatter area, becoming part of the garden’s soil and helping sustain its life. Arrangements for this interment are made with the Pastor or Church office. After this service a small brass plaque with the interred person’s name, birth and death year will be added to the bronze plaque in the Memorial Garden.

The cost of interment will be determined by whomever is making the arrangements for burial. The bronze plaque with name, date of birth and date of death will be filled in on a church form for our records and to be given to the engraver. The cost of bronzing is not a set price because of the fluctuating cost of copper, therefore the price requires a quote from the engraver. The cost of the paver & brass plaque also must be quoted. The paver will be placed in the Memorial Garden and the engraved brass plaque installed by the church on the Memorial Board in the church alcove. You will be notified when all of your requests have been completed.

The Cemetery Committee or person designated by Session will order the nameplate as requested on the provided Interment Form. Duplicate records of the deceased as well as major donors will also be presented on the brass plaque displayed in the church alcove and records of the deceased and burial placement kept in a log in the Church office. Any request for an addition or change in the physical design of the Jamestown Presbyterian Memorial Garden requires the approval of both the Cemetery Committee and Session.

In the beginning...

 Maureen Brown, Delcie Hodge Roach and Marylin Rossland gave the initial contribution towards establishing a Memorial Garden in the existing cemetery at Jamestown Presbyterian Church which had been closed in the 1970’s. 

The large cross on the center pedestal in the Memorial Garden was donated by Jean Durham.

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Jamestown Presbyterian Church Cemetery

The following is Abstracted from "James city county, virginia church graveyards", copyright 2013*


On August 1, 1895, Mr. E. J. Campbell donated two acres of land to establish a church. The deed stipulated that the trustees, A. S. Cowles, Jacob Vaiden and Cornelius Nightengale, and the congregation were to continue to raise money to build a house to be used for Divine worship at Five Forks in James City County. If this could not be accomplished, the land would revert back to Campbell (JCC DB 6: 29). The preceding year, he had come down from Pennsylvania and traded a Clydesdale horse for one hundred acres of land, and it was part of this land that he donated. Sunday School classes were begun in an old store building across the road, and in the winter of 1895-96, the original part of the church was built. In May 1896, "Powhatan Temple" was dedicated and a Methodist minister from Surry came over each week to hold services. The church was also used as a school house in 1896-97.

By 1901, attendance began to decline and services were suspended. However, in 1905, several new families moved into the area, and a new interest in the church arose. The church was renamed Five Forks Church, and Baptist and Methodist ministers from Williamsburg conducted services there twice a month. In the late teens, Dr. W. W. Powell, minister at the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church began to hold services there every other Sunday afternoon. The Five Forks Presbyterian Church was officially organized in 1920. About ten years later, the name was changed to "Jamestown Presbyterian Church."

The congregation grew and more space was needed. There were several additions including classrooms and later, a new education building and a manse. Ultimately, a new three hundred seat sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1995. The original old frame church building now serves as the fellowship hall. There is a small graveyard located adjacent to the original church building, and some of the early members now rest from their labors there in the peaceful shade of several old trees.

The list of tombstones begins in the back left corner. There are three rows of graves that come toward the parking lot with the Robinson family plot in front of these three rows.

First Row:

Our Father                                     Our Mother                     

Walter David Buckner            Etta Buckner              Mary K. Alley

Jul. 11, 1880                                 Dec. 25, 1880             Oct. 15, 1906

Nov. 26, 1952                              Feb. 25, 1920              Aug. 6, 1985

                               Double Marker


Soren A. Riisgaard            Emilie K. Riisgaard            Axel M. Riisgaard

July 20, 1877                       Nov. 25, 1876                      Mar. 6, 1914

May 3, 1947                         Feb. 9, 1961                          May 18, 1934

 Soren and Emilie Riisgaard immigrated from Denmark in 1909 with two children, Mary K. Riisgaard (Alley) [grave marker above] and Fritz E. Riisgaard. They had two more children born in the U.S., Axel E. and Anna. Axel was killed in an automobile accident in Pennsylvania.

Charles V. Mahone            Elsie Eubank Mahone                                       Double Marker

1882-1956                            1901-1950                                   Luretta R. Mahone     James H. Mahone

At Rest                                      At Rest                                           1861-1939                      1856-1941

                             Double Marker

Pearl S. Mahone            Guy E. Mahone

1896-1948                      1896-1966

Second Row:

                             Double Marker

Edgar M. Morecock       Mary A. Morecock               Harvey C. Babcock

Sept. 21, 1879                  Oct. 19, 1885                          Aug. 22, 1883

Aug. 11, 1940                   Aug. 11, 1940                          Dec. 3, 1943

Father                                   Mother                                        Asleep

Mr. and Mrs. Morecock were killed in an automobile accident at the intersection of Ironbound and Route 5, when a Greyhound bus struck their car as they were leaving the church.

Sarah Frances Nightengale Babcock                         Helen Elizabeth Seal

"Aunt Fannie"                                                                          Sept. 20, 1977

Jan. 12, 1883                                                                           Sept. 22, 1977

Jul. 22, 1976

                             Double Marker                                            John A. Babcock

James C. Babcock     Sarah P. Babcock                      Feb. 4, 1910

1887-1960                   1891-1967                                  Apr. 9, 1988

                             Double Marker                                                                 Double Marker

Carol Lee Hodge     Raymond Dean Hodge       Claude Dallas Onley     Lucy Wilson Onley

1946-                             U.S. Air Force                           1889-1965                         1890-1956


Third Row:

Marker made from a                                                                     Double Marker

marble table top                                     Cornelius E. Nightengale       Mary A. Nightengale

Joan Nightengale                                Jan. 21, 1855                                Aug. 28, 1857

& Ann Nightengale                             Oct. 20, 1928                               Sept. 2, 1927

Died                                                             FS: Father                                       FS: Mother

Mary A. Nightengale was the daughter of James S. Morris and Frances J. Harrell.

Sadie Laranda Babcock Goodman             small stone base adjacent, no writing, may be

B. 1880-D. March 1910                                   Sadie's first husband, Anson Babcock, or

                                                                                        second husband, ___________ Goodman.

Our Brother                       Our Mother

William K. Bulifant          Mary E. Bulifant          Nellie V. Bulifant          Ella B. Bulifant

Nov. 10, 1876                     Mar. 25, 1856               Aug. 2, 1894                    Nov. 18, 1881

Aug. 21, 1942                     Mar. 28, 1944               May 25, 1953                 May 12, 1963

 At Rest                                  At Rest

Additional information on the Nightengale and Bulifant families may be found in Volume I.

Robinson Family Plot:

                                  Double Marker

Thomas Robinson, Sr.      George A. Robinson

May 22, 1892                       Nov. 6, 1874

Mar. 20, 1914                       Nov. 1916

                                                                                                             Double Marker

Thomas K. Robinson                                     Thomas Robinson     Annie W. Robinson

Infant                                                                     1870-1943                   1874-1964

Died 1911                                                          Thomas Robinson's wife was Annie B. Waltrip,

                                                                                  daughter of R. L. and Sarah Waltrip.

Thomas Robinson, Sr. was born in Sleaford, England and immigrated to New Jersey where he became a seafaring man. After retiring, he moved to James City County to live with two of his sons, Thomas, Jr. and George. His wife, Sarah, predeceased him in New Jersey, and he was survived by six additional children.

Tradition at the church is that an old lady and her daughter are buried in unmarked graves immediately to the right of the Riisgaard graves. Their names are not known.

* James City County, Virginia Church Graveyards was Compiled by Frederick W. Boelt, Barbara Kaufmann & Merle Kimball; Copyright 2013; The Hugh S. Watson, Jr. Genealogical Society of Virginia; Printed by: John Henry Printing, Inc, Yorktown, VA 23692.

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