St. Paul Lutheran Church
331 St. Paul Church Road - Crockett Virginia
St. Paul Lutheran Church, located in the western portion of Wythe County, has generally been accepted as the first Lutheran congregation in what is now Wythe County. The land entry records show that the land was settled in 1776 and that a meeting house and minister's house were built prior to 1781. The date of the establishment of the church is usually given as 1776, although no precise written church record documents the year.
The property on which the church stands was a grant from King George II of Great Britain in about 1746 and was to be used for religious worship, education and a cemetery. The first of five structures was built of logs and used as a school, as well as a church. The last and present structure was built in 1916. The church had several names before becoming St. Paul in 1829.
Photo by Katrina Morris @ Katrina Morris Photography.
Grace Lutheran Church
514 S Main Street - Rural Retreat Virginia
In 1855, with the opening of the railway, the communities of Wytheville and Mt. Airy began to develop as population centers of the county. After the American Civil War and as people migrated toward Mr. Airy Depot, later Rural Retreat, the need for a Lutheran ministry near the town emerged. Within five years, a new congregation was established in the town of Mt. Airy Depot.
The first church, Oak Grove Chapel, later Hawkins Chapel, was located in "the Oak Grove", and its history goes back to 1868 when the church was first started. It was officially organized in 1872 and a frame church was constructed. Later, a new brick church was built and dedicated on October 10, 1909, on the present site. In 1922, Hawkins Chapel was placed in a parish arrangement with St. Paul, thus beginning a new era in its life and ministry.
In an effort to honor the indigenous peoples who were the orginal custodians of this land we researched and found surprising information. References are found for the Chisca tribe which later merged with the Shawnee before the extinction of their line. The Iriquios are also mentioned as being native to what is now Wythe County. Although the area is specifically noted as hunting lands for many tribes of the broader area no record of its use for habitational purposes can be found. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have different informationt to share.