Baptists and the American Civil War: March 12, 1863

Civil War States MapTo the consternation of town citizens, the Confederate War Department seizes “all the Superfine and Extra Family Flour” in Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, paying millers and merchants only 2/3rds of the market price. Not surprisingly, the confiscation of flour upsets many residents. In the years of the war to come, however, the heavy hand of the Confederate government will be felt all the more deeply upon citizens.

Meanwhile, to the North, a new Baptist church is birthed this month. In the small community of Harpersfield, New York, the “First Baptist Church and Society of Harpersfield,” a “Hardshell” Baptist congregation, is incorporated. The effects of the war seemingly do not intrude upon this group of believers in the years ahead, as the members soon begin raising money for a building, decide to relocate to the nearby village of Stamford, and on November 8, 1866 dedicate a new sanctuary on the town’s Main Street. Located between the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, the Baptist structure stands on what is locally known as “Gospel Row.”

Sources: Southern Confederacy, “More High-Minded Measures,” March 12, 1863 (link); W. W. Munsell, “The History of Delaware County: The Town of Stamford” (link)