The Road to Revolution

Finally in 1767, the Vestry decided to rebuild their own parish church on a grander scale, constructing it out of elegant and more durable colonial brick. The present Pohick Church represents the fruit of their labors. Vestrymen George WashingtonGeorge Mason and George William Fairfax supervised the construction, which was completed in 1774, just before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Armed with survey maps, Washington was said to have argued for the new site, two miles north of the old church, as being more centrally located. It was also situated on the highest spot in the area, recalling the biblical image of a “city set on a hill” (Matt 5:14). In order to finance the project, all parishioner families paid larger than usual “tithes” or mandatory annual contributions. In addition, the wealthy plantation owners of the parish—including Washington, Mason and Fairfax—each purchased family pews inside their new house of worship.

Both before and after the war, Washington was a faithful attendant at Pohick. The Reverend Lee Massey, Pohick’s second Rector and a close friend of the Washingtons, once wrote: “I never knew so constant an attendant at Church as [Washington]. And his behavior in the house of God was ever so deeply reverential that it produced the happiest effect on my congregation, and greatly assisted me in my pulpit labors. No company ever withheld him from Church. I have been at Mount Vernon on Sabbath morning when his breakfast table was filled with guests; but to him they furnished no pretext for neglecting his God and losing the satisfaction of setting a good example. For instead of staying at home, out of false complaisance to them, he used constantly to invite them to accompany him.” Washington’s steadfast faith in God’s divine providence undoubtedly sustained him during the long fight for independence from England.

Free admission, self-guided tours, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm daily.
Docents are available for groups after Sunday services, on the first Saturday of the month at 1:00 pm, or by appointment through the Church Office.