Our church was established as a mission by the Bethesda Presbyterian Church (then known as the Cabin John church). The first pastor was Rev. Charles Howard Nourse, who founded the church in the 1800's with two members. The sanctuary was built in 1847 with just a handful of parishioners.
During the Civil War. Poolesville was caught between the two sides. The army of the north made its camp nearby --almost 10,000 soldiers in this vicinity along the Potomac River -- while most of the townspeople were sympathetic to the south.
A skirmish involving the church occurred in 1863, in either July or December. What is known is that 40 or so Union soldiers attended a worship service at the Baptist Church, which was held in our sanctuary. While the Union troops were worshipping, Confederate cavalry, led by Captain Elijah White, surrounded the church. As the Union soldiers left the sanctuary, the Confederates captured them and marched them to Edward's Ferry, then took their boots, weapons and horses.
The sanctuary was also used as a hospital after the Battle of Ball's Bluff. There were so many wounded and killed that day that every possible space was put to use. Although, isn't it appropriate to use a sanctuary to tend the wounded?
After the Civil War ended, this area prospered. In 1886, Poolesville was "the hub of a prosperous farming area," and included "6 stores, 5 churches, 2 hotels, a female seminary, a girl's private school, and a public school." The church grew to nearly 100 members and was even strong enough to start its own mission church, the Emily Grove Chapel, in 1890.