In the sparsely settled village at West Point in 1870, there were fewer than four hundred people. Among them was Mrs. Sue Davis, a Baptist who dreamed of a Baptist Church in her town. In the year 1870, Mrs. Davis was visiting at Stevensville in King and Queen County and talked with the Rev. Mr. Alfred Bagby about starting a Baptist Church in the town of West Point.
The First Baptist Church of West Point was organized December 21, 1873 by a council of three Baptist ministers: Elders Alfred Bagby, Albert Bird, and John W. Ryland, meeting with thirteen persons (three brethren and ten sisters) who held letters of transfer from other Baptist churches to unite with the church being organized in West Point.
At two o' clock that afternoon, the group went down to the river and baptized Clarence Anderson, who became the first member to be received by the church by believers baptism by immerson.
In February 1874, the Rev. Mr. Alfred Bagby was elected pastor. Rev. Bagby was paid by the State Mission Board, and spent his time working with the Mattaponi, Exoll and West Point churches. Two services a month were held at the West Point Baptist Church. Rev. Bagby resigned on November 21, 1880, after six years of faithful service.
Two lots known as "The Burying Ground" were donated to the church and the first church building was erected on one of the lots, being completed in 1876, the year of the American Centennial. This building was enlarged in 1890. Two Sunday School rooms were added about 1920.
One stone remains from "The Burying Ground". It marked the grave of George Meredith, apparently a colonial mariner who died April 21, 1728. The epitaph reads:
"Through Boreas; blasts and Neptune's waves
Have tossed me to and fro,
In spite of all, by God's decree
We anchor here below
Now here do we at anchor lie
With many of our fleet
Yet once again we must set sail
Our Savior Christ to meet."
In 1924, when he was ninety-six years old, Dr. Bagby visited his graddaughter, Mrs. Janie Bagby Chandler who lived across the street from the church. He was helped into the church, and was seated on a chair in front at the edge of the pulpit, where he sat down and talked to the congregation. It was a memorable service.
During the pastorate of the Rev. Herbert R. Carlton, the present church building was erected. It was dedicated the second Sunday of June, 1927.
During the pastorate of the Rev. Welford A. Brooks, adjoining lots were purchased and the education building was erected. It was dedicated the second Sunday in November, 1958.
In 1973, we celebrated our Centennial year and Dr. Malcolm H. Harris wrote, "A History of the First Baptist Church of West Point, Virginia".
Most recently, in October 2012, we celebrated our church history with a Heritage Day Celebration. The church family met in the Sanctuary for a joint Sunday School celebration, where a multi-media presentation was made celebrating our 139 years of history as a church. We met on the grounds for a catered lunch after the worship service, and had an old-fashioned hymn sing in the Sanctuary afterwards.