Red Bank Baptist Church was the third Baptist church founded on the Virginia Shore, and it is the second oldest still in existence. Elijah Baker organized the church in 1783 and continued as pastor until 1789, when he was succeeded by John Elliott. For more than half a century Red Bank's pastors were most often shared with Lower Northampton.
Red Bank was originally located near bridgetown, hence its early name "Hungars." The building was already standing in 1794, when Joab Bell gave the land on which it stood for the "use of the baptist preachers ... to preach there forever and for no other use whatever." Somewhere around 1831, however, the congregation relocated in Marionville, ad took the name Red Bank. The older site was abandoned andis today forgotten.
It was in the new church building in Marionville that the Accomack Baptist Assoication, still in the thores of schism, convened in 1832. Red Bank was one of the few Baptist congregations on the Shore not disturbed by the anti-missions controversy. In fact, the year 1832 saw a great revival at the church, and 51 new members were received by baptism.
The present church site was purched from George Bell and John H. Powell in 1857 and a new building, the third, was occupied by 1858. In this building the Reverend William Thomas led a "precious" and powerful revival in 1872. Thomas died later that year and was buried near the church; when later the church building was enlarged, the congregation was careful to make certain that th enew pulpit was constructed directly above his grave.
The present church building, second on this site and the congregation's fourt, was erected in 1899. The Reverend William Hatcher of Richmond preached on August 28, 1900, when the building was dedicated. An annex was added to the building in 1906, and in 1961 a separate church hall was constructed.
Red Bank joined with Lower Northampton to establish Eastville Baptist Church in 1877 and with Wardtown to establish Exmore Baptist Church in 1907. From its ranks have come three ministers and the missionary, Frances Carter Jones, daughter of the Reverend E. Pendleton Jones, who died in service in Nigeria in 1937.
From its very earliest years Red Bank has been a vigorous and prosperous church. Its first recorded membership, in 1809, was 125. Its maximum membership, in the mid 1950s, was almost double that amount. The church today boasts some 230 members.
Source: Mariner, Kirk. Revival's Children: A Religous History of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Salisbury Maryland: Peninsula Press, 1979. Location: Intersection of routes 600 and 617, area south of route 617.
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