Submitted by Katie Haensel <email@example.com> 2 Mar 1999 who descends from John Caldwell, founder of the Caldwell settlement in Cub Creek
My husband and I traveled from Wisconsin to see the marker(s) that commemorated Cub Creek Church which was founded by John Caldwell in 1738. The location is about an hour drive from Richmond, Virginia. We took S.R. 360 out of Richmond to Keysville. There we picked up S.R. 40 through Charlotte Court House. Before we got to Phenix we saw an historical marker on the left side of the road on county Road 682. The marker read:
SIX MILES SOUTH IS CUB CREEK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, THE OLDEST CHURCH IN THIS SECTION. THE NEIGHBORHOOD WAS KNOWN AS THE CALDWELL SETTLEMENT FOR JOHN CALDWELL, GRANDFATHER OF JOHN C. CALHOUN, OF SOUTH CAROLINA. ABOUT 1738 HE BROUGHT HERE A COLONY OF SCOTCH-IRISH AND OBTAINED PERMISSION TO ESTABLISH A CHURCH.
We drove nearly six miles on C.R. 682 and then took a right on C.R. 619. In less than a half a mile we saw a road sign that said "Cub Creek Church". We turned in the driveway and saw a cemetery enclosed by a wrought iron fence. There were several common stones in one section of the graveyard. These stones were probably used in conjunction with a wooden cross to mark the early graves. In a newer section on the cemetery there were conventional markers and the dates began about the middle of the nineteenth century. Near the cemetery were the charred remains of the second Cub Creek Church. The first church had been located east of the second one on the site of a large marker now standing isolated in the woods. The stone monument had two large bronze plaques. On one side were the words:
JOHN CALDWELL BORN IN IRELAND. CAME TO PENNSYLVANIA 1727. DIED AT CUB CREEK 1750 AND WAS BURIED HERE. FATHER OF REV. JAMES CALDWELL, HERO OF THE REVOLUTION, GRANDFATHER OF JOHN CALDWELL CALHOUN, SOUTH CAROLINA STATESMAN.
IN MAY 1738, JOHN CALDWELL IN BEHALF OF MANY FAMILIES OF OUR PERSUASION WHO ARE ABOUT TO SETTLE IN THE BACK PARTS OF VIRGINIA ASKED THE SYNOD OF PHILADELPHIA TO APPOINT A COMMITTEE TO WAIT ON THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA "WITH SUITABLE INSTRUCTIONS IN ORDER TO PROCURE THE FAVOUR OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THAT PROVINCE TO THE LAYING A FOUNDATION OF OUR INTEREST IN THAT PLACE AND TO ASK FOR THE COLONY LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE AND THE PRIVILEGE OF WORSHIPPING GOD IN A WAY AGREEABLE TO THE PRINCIPLES OF OUR EDUCATION.'
THE GOVERNOR GRANTED THIS REQUEST AND IN 1738 A COLONY OF SCOTCH-IRISH PRESBYTERIANS UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF JOHN CALDWELL PURCHASED MORE THAN 30,000 ACRES ALONG CUB CREEK IN THIS VICINITY AND ESTABLISHED HERE A SETTLEMENT OF PRESBYTERIAN DISSENTERS.
AT CUB CREEK MEETING HOUSE, OCTOBER 13, 1774, HANOVER PRESBYTERY DECIDED TO ESTABLISH TWO SCHOOLS OF HIGHER EDUCATION, ONE IN THE COUNTY OF AUGUSTA, ONE IN PRINCE EDWARD ON CUMBERLAND. REV. CALEB WALLACE, THEN PASTOR OF THE CUB CREEK CONGREGATION ( A NATIVE OF CHARLOTTE COUNTY, AUTHOR OF THE PETITION OF 1776 TO THE VIRGINIA ASSEMBLY FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, LATER JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS OF KENTUCKY) WAS A MEMBER OF THE TWO COMMITTEES APPOINTED BY PRESBYTERY TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THESE SCHOOLS. FROM THIS ACTION CAME WASHINGTON COLLEGE (NOW WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY) AND HAMPDEN SYDNEY COLLEGE.
The site is heavily wooded and there is considerable underbrush. The countryside is sparsely settled. Probably there are less people in the immediate area now, then there was in the middle of the eighteenth century. Cub creek is not visible from the site. However, we continued east on C.R. 619 and within a mile crossed it. It was much wider than I had expected. We continued on the road and eventually reached Phenix; it would have been quicker to go back the way we came.