Haunted Grace Church in Virginia


Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

NH Civil War Gal

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Messages
3,314
I got for Christmas a book called, "Virginia Ghosts" by Marguerite Dupont Lee. It was last printed around 1966. This particular story has piqued my interest and I wonder if anyone in the Fauquier County area knows anything about this. Even in 1930, which is late for this book, people still talked about this haunted church, yet I can't find anything on the internet about it. @Rebforever have you ever heard of this?

Here's the story:

Grace Church is situated on the old Fredericksburg-Winchester road--half way between Fredericksburg and Warrenton. The old "Rogues road" runs back of it. About an acre of ground cleared out of the wilderness surrounds the church and a well is near the road on the left of the church where the traveller may be sure of cool water for himself and beast.

The church, a square frame building, has an outside vestibule and four large windows, with wooden shutters on each side--a country "burying ground" on the right-hand side of the grounds and at the back of the church is nearly filled with graves old and new.

For over two hundred years this road, once an Indian trail, has been travelled by all sorts and conditions of men. In the past century, the ladies in their carriages going to the mountains for the summer, or to the springs; travellers on horseback, men hauling to Warrenton and Winchester the produce of the Tidewater, fish wagons, oyster wagons in season, and all summer long, watermelons and cantaloupes, packed in huge covered wagons. "Mountain Arks" my grandfather called them. No wonder, considering the convenience of water and wood aplenty, and a cleared spot in front of the church, that it was customary to camp there at night from the time the trail was blazed to the time the church was built and up to the present.

Having been born in Tidewater and being accustomed to drive over to my mother's farm near Warrenton, where we always spent the summers, every June, returning in September, twice a year we stopped, camped and fed horses, had a lunch, rested and drove on to reach "Fenton" about twilight, having started from home about dawn. Oten when we met other travellers there would be conversation and many times I would hear some of them remark that that old church was haunted and that unless there was a big party, it was a spooky business to stay there at night.

Even now the loneliness of the place and the sighing of the wind in the pine trees makes it an inexpressibly desolate spot. The huge pine forest towards the west shades the sun soon after noon and a shaded early twilight comes on before 4:00 pm.

When I was about 17, my Father sent me with his overseer, old Mr. Kirkpatrick, to Fredericksburg, to bring back a load of melons. We went in the big covered wagon, stuffed with straw and as we were travelling light made the trip down in a day. The next morning we purchased the melons, loaded carefully, and started the 40 mile drive home. The road was a rough unimproved country road and as it was middle August, the heat was intense, we we made poor time, reaching Grace Church at dusk. We had travelled toward a dreadful thunderstorm, the lightning flashing and thunder growling, and wind rising, as we made the last mile. Mr. "Kirk" knew my mother's fear of storms which I had inherited, so he said we would feed and stake the horses and ourselves camp under the wagon. All of which we finally accomplished before the rain came. It soon became apparent that we could not sellp under the wagon as a regular downpour of rain sent the water running under our blankets and straw bed. We decided to try and gain entrance to the church and to our consternation every window and door was sufficiently barred to keep out any and all who came.

About 11 pm we succeeded in making a comparatively dry place to sleep in the porch-vestibule; at any rate it kept off the rain. It seems to me I had been asleep about a minute when the horses began to be restless and snort and try to shy away from their stakes. We had not quieted them before a furious noise began inside the church as if some one or many were throwing over the benches, or dropping them on the floor with loud bangs. At first we thought it was wind roaring or perhaps thunder. But the noises became so loud that Mr. "Kirk" gave me the lantern and helped me to climb up and look in to see who or what was inside. However, as long as we remained at the windows there was absolute silence and as soon as would get down and start to rest the tumult would begin again. We stood the strain about two hours. In fact, we informed the ghosts or whatever it was, in no uncertain terms, that "we would be ****ed if we moved before the storm was over," and sat down on the porch and stuck it out, noises and all, until the storm passed and a pale moon came out. Then old "Kirk" said, "Let's get from this awful place, Will," and we started harnessing the horses and were busy about it when a Mr. Beach of Stafford Bounty, drove up in a big wagon loaded with melons. Said he had missed the worst of the storm as it had not passed in his direction, and he had decided to camp the rest of the night at Grace Church if he found any other travellers there, but said he, "I wouldn't camp here alone for a thousand dollars. This old place is haunted and haunted bad! I know dozens of people who have heard noises in this church, like throwing the benches around and moaning, and two or three of my friends have heard a woman shrieking, and once there seemed to be a fight in the church that lasted fully ten minutes, followed by complete silence." We then acknowledged we had heard the noises and had been dreadfully frightened, so were harnessing up then and were moving on home. Mr. Beach said, "I'm going too, you bet, nothing doing with me camping here alone." So in a few minutes were all on our road.

Looking back at the experience it seem even a more unhappy occasion than at first, for several times since I have been practicing medicine I have met and conversed with people whose stories duplicated my own experience, and while travellers still stop in the day there are never any who are bold enough to spend a night in that remote spot.

W.J. Chewning, M.D.

Note: April, 1930. I invited Dr. Chewning, as an interesting experiment to see what would happen, to spend another night at Grace Church. He says: "Not for a king's ransom!"
 

Rebforever

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Messages
10,108
I got for Christmas a book called, "Virginia Ghosts" by Marguerite Dupont Lee. It was last printed around 1966. This particular story has piqued my interest and I wonder if anyone in the Fauquier County area knows anything about this. Even in 1930, which is late for this book, people still talked about this haunted church, yet I can't find anything on the internet about it. @Rebforever have you ever heard of this?

Here's the story:

Grace Church is situated on the old Fredericksburg-Winchester road--half way between Fredericksburg and Warrenton. The old "Rogues road" runs back of it. About an acre of ground cleared out of the wilderness surrounds the church and a well is near the road on the left of the church where the traveller may be sure of cool water for himself and beast.

The church, a square frame building, has an outside vestibule and four large windows, with wooden shutters on each side--a country "burying ground" on the right-hand side of the grounds and at the back of the church is nearly filled with graves old and new.

For over two hundred years this road, once an Indian trail, has been travelled by all sorts and conditions of men. In the past century, the ladies in their carriages going to the mountains for the summer, or to the springs; travellers on horseback, men hauling to Warrenton and Winchester the produce of the Tidewater, fish wagons, oyster wagons in season, and all summer long, watermelons and cantaloupes, packed in huge covered wagons. "Mountain Arks" my grandfather called them. No wonder, considering the convenience of water and wood aplenty, and a cleared spot in front of the church, that it was customary to camp there at night from the time the trail was blazed to the time the church was built and up to the present.

Having been born in Tidewater and being accustomed to drive over to my mother's farm near Warrenton, where we always spent the summers, every June, returning in September, twice a year we stopped, camped and fed horses, had a lunch, rested and drove on to reach "Fenton" about twilight, having started from home about dawn. Oten when we met other travellers there would be conversation and many times I would hear some of them remark that that old church was haunted and that unless there was a big party, it was a spooky business to stay there at night.

Even now the loneliness of the place and the sighing of the wind in the pine trees makes it an inexpressibly desolate spot. The huge pine forest towards the west shades the sun soon after noon and a shaded early twilight comes on before 4:00 pm.

When I was about 17, my Father sent me with his overseer, old Mr. Kirkpatrick, to Fredericksburg, to bring back a load of melons. We went in the big covered wagon, stuffed with straw and as we were travelling light made the trip down in a day. The next morning we purchased the melons, loaded carefully, and started the 40 mile drive home. The road was a rough unimproved country road and as it was middle August, the heat was intense, we we made poor time, reaching Grace Church at dusk. We had travelled toward a dreadful thunderstorm, the lightning flashing and thunder growling, and wind rising, as we made the last mile. Mr. "Kirk" knew my mother's fear of storms which I had inherited, so he said we would feed and stake the horses and ourselves camp under the wagon. All of which we finally accomplished before the rain came. It soon became apparent that we could not sellp under the wagon as a regular downpour of rain sent the water running under our blankets and straw bed. We decided to try and gain entrance to the church and to our consternation every window and door was sufficiently barred to keep out any and all who came.

About 11 pm we succeeded in making a comparatively dry place to sleep in the porch-vestibule; at any rate it kept off the rain. It seems to me I had been asleep about a minute when the horses began to be restless and snort and try to shy away from their stakes. We had not quieted them before a furious noise began inside the church as if some one or many were throwing over the benches, or dropping them on the floor with loud bangs. At first we thought it was wind roaring or perhaps thunder. But the noises became so loud that Mr. "Kirk" gave me the lantern and helped me to climb up and look in to see who or what was inside. However, as long as we remained at the windows there was absolute silence and as soon as would get down and start to rest the tumult would begin again. We stood the strain about two hours. In fact, we informed the ghosts or whatever it was, in no uncertain terms, that "we would be ****ed if we moved before the storm was over," and sat down on the porch and stuck it out, noises and all, until the storm passed and a pale moon came out. Then old "Kirk" said, "Let's get from this awful place, Will," and we started harnessing the horses and were busy about it when a Mr. Beach of Stafford Bounty, drove up in a big wagon loaded with melons. Said he had missed the worst of the storm as it had not passed in his direction, and he had decided to camp the rest of the night at Grace Church if he found any other travellers there, but said he, "I wouldn't camp here alone for a thousand dollars. This old place is haunted and haunted bad! I know dozens of people who have heard noises in this church, like throwing the benches around and moaning, and two or three of my friends have heard a woman shrieking, and once there seemed to be a fight in the church that lasted fully ten minutes, followed by complete silence." We then acknowledged we had heard the noises and had been dreadfully frightened, so were harnessing up then and were moving on home. Mr. Beach said, "I'm going too, you bet, nothing doing with me camping here alone." So in a few minutes were all on our road.

Looking back at the experience it seem even a more unhappy occasion than at first, for several times since I have been practicing medicine I have met and conversed with people whose stories duplicated my own experience, and while travellers still stop in the day there are never any who are bold enough to spend a night in that remote spot.

W.J. Chewning, M.D.

Note: April, 1930. I invited Dr. Chewning, as an interesting experiment to see what would happen, to spend another night at Grace Church. He says: "Not for a king's ransom!"
No I haven’t, sorry to say. But it sure sounds interesting. :cold:
 

bankerpapaw

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
Messages
3,870
Location
Rome, Georgia
I got for Christmas a book called, "Virginia Ghosts" by Marguerite Dupont Lee. It was last printed around 1966. This particular story has piqued my interest and I wonder if anyone in the Fauquier County area knows anything about this. Even in 1930, which is late for this book, people still talked about this haunted church, yet I can't find anything on the internet about it. @Rebforever have you ever heard of this?

Here's the story:

Grace Church is situated on the old Fredericksburg-Winchester road--half way between Fredericksburg and Warrenton. The old "Rogues road" runs back of it. About an acre of ground cleared out of the wilderness surrounds the church and a well is near the road on the left of the church where the traveller may be sure of cool water for himself and beast.

The church, a square frame building, has an outside vestibule and four large windows, with wooden shutters on each side--a country "burying ground" on the right-hand side of the grounds and at the back of the church is nearly filled with graves old and new.

For over two hundred years this road, once an Indian trail, has been travelled by all sorts and conditions of men. In the past century, the ladies in their carriages going to the mountains for the summer, or to the springs; travellers on horseback, men hauling to Warrenton and Winchester the produce of the Tidewater, fish wagons, oyster wagons in season, and all summer long, watermelons and cantaloupes, packed in huge covered wagons. "Mountain Arks" my grandfather called them. No wonder, considering the convenience of water and wood aplenty, and a cleared spot in front of the church, that it was customary to camp there at night from the time the trail was blazed to the time the church was built and up to the present.

Having been born in Tidewater and being accustomed to drive over to my mother's farm near Warrenton, where we always spent the summers, every June, returning in September, twice a year we stopped, camped and fed horses, had a lunch, rested and drove on to reach "Fenton" about twilight, having started from home about dawn. Oten when we met other travellers there would be conversation and many times I would hear some of them remark that that old church was haunted and that unless there was a big party, it was a spooky business to stay there at night.

Even now the loneliness of the place and the sighing of the wind in the pine trees makes it an inexpressibly desolate spot. The huge pine forest towards the west shades the sun soon after noon and a shaded early twilight comes on before 4:00 pm.

When I was about 17, my Father sent me with his overseer, old Mr. Kirkpatrick, to Fredericksburg, to bring back a load of melons. We went in the big covered wagon, stuffed with straw and as we were travelling light made the trip down in a day. The next morning we purchased the melons, loaded carefully, and started the 40 mile drive home. The road was a rough unimproved country road and as it was middle August, the heat was intense, we we made poor time, reaching Grace Church at dusk. We had travelled toward a dreadful thunderstorm, the lightning flashing and thunder growling, and wind rising, as we made the last mile. Mr. "Kirk" knew my mother's fear of storms which I had inherited, so he said we would feed and stake the horses and ourselves camp under the wagon. All of which we finally accomplished before the rain came. It soon became apparent that we could not sellp under the wagon as a regular downpour of rain sent the water running under our blankets and straw bed. We decided to try and gain entrance to the church and to our consternation every window and door was sufficiently barred to keep out any and all who came.

About 11 pm we succeeded in making a comparatively dry place to sleep in the porch-vestibule; at any rate it kept off the rain. It seems to me I had been asleep about a minute when the horses began to be restless and snort and try to shy away from their stakes. We had not quieted them before a furious noise began inside the church as if some one or many were throwing over the benches, or dropping them on the floor with loud bangs. At first we thought it was wind roaring or perhaps thunder. But the noises became so loud that Mr. "Kirk" gave me the lantern and helped me to climb up and look in to see who or what was inside. However, as long as we remained at the windows there was absolute silence and as soon as would get down and start to rest the tumult would begin again. We stood the strain about two hours. In fact, we informed the ghosts or whatever it was, in no uncertain terms, that "we would be ****ed if we moved before the storm was over," and sat down on the porch and stuck it out, noises and all, until the storm passed and a pale moon came out. Then old "Kirk" said, "Let's get from this awful place, Will," and we started harnessing the horses and were busy about it when a Mr. Beach of Stafford Bounty, drove up in a big wagon loaded with melons. Said he had missed the worst of the storm as it had not passed in his direction, and he had decided to camp the rest of the night at Grace Church if he found any other travellers there, but said he, "I wouldn't camp here alone for a thousand dollars. This old place is haunted and haunted bad! I know dozens of people who have heard noises in this church, like throwing the benches around and moaning, and two or three of my friends have heard a woman shrieking, and once there seemed to be a fight in the church that lasted fully ten minutes, followed by complete silence." We then acknowledged we had heard the noises and had been dreadfully frightened, so were harnessing up then and were moving on home. Mr. Beach said, "I'm going too, you bet, nothing doing with me camping here alone." So in a few minutes were all on our road.

Looking back at the experience it seem even a more unhappy occasion than at first, for several times since I have been practicing medicine I have met and conversed with people whose stories duplicated my own experience, and while travellers still stop in the day there are never any who are bold enough to spend a night in that remote spot.

W.J. Chewning, M.D.

Note: April, 1930. I invited Dr. Chewning, as an interesting experiment to see what would happen, to spend another night at Grace Church. He says: "Not for a king's ransom!"
Neat story!!!
 

NH Civil War Gal

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Messages
3,314
It's possible. But the picture in the book, a sketching, showed it a wooden church, very plain and a little rundown. I would think it would have been rebuilt in some fashion by now. Do you live near there to investigate? What intrigued me so much was, most of the stories in the book date to the late 1700s, early 1800s and right after the CW. This particular story had a footnote of 1930. So while the other stories may have something behind them, they are so long ago most of the places are gone or are so changed. This one sounded like something may still be there - the structure or cemetery at least.
 

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Top