Home > About Us Memorializing the Struggle for Religious Freedom
While the great majority of Americans cherish the freedom to worship according to the dictates of one's conscience, it is likely that most know little of the events that secured that right. The first legislative body in the world to adopt a statute of religious liberty was Virginia in 1786. But, the struggle for religious toleration, and ultimately freedom, began four decades earlier in Hanover County, Virginia.

Historic Polegreen Church Site
In 1990 the Presbytery of the James, successor to Hanover Presbytery which had been founded at Polegreen in 1755, authorized the creation of a non-profit foundation, ecumenical in nature, to preserve, enhance and interpret the site of Polegreen Church. The first objective of the foundation was to locate the remains of the colonial church. Archaeologists from Virginia Commonwealth University oversaw the effort, and the remains of the church's foundation were revealed. On the basis of the physical evidence of the church's location and the easily documented record of the important events related to the Hanover Dissenters and Samuel Davies, in 1991 the U.S. National Park Service listed the Polegreen site in the Register of National Historic Places.

The Polegreen Foundation has been the grateful recipient of the advice and counsel of the staff of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Through them the services of internationally known architect Carlton Abbott were obtained. Abbott designed the present unique enhancement over the site of the ancient Polegreen Church. For the first time in 137 years there is something to see on the place which represents one of the great chapters of American history. With growing concern over urban sprawl, which had already begun to have an impact on the surroundings of the old church, the Foundation set out to acquire the view shed around the original site. To date nearly 110 acres have been preserved.

The Foundation welcomes you into its enlarging family. We hope you will be captivated by the preservation and interpretation of one of America's most important historic sites.

Vision Statement
By 2018, the 275th Anniversary of the founding of Polegreen Church, the Foundation will be recognized for its leadership in the historic interpretation of civil and religious freedom in Colonial Virginia through preservation of the site, community outreach and educational programs.

Mission Statement
To preserve the historic Polegreen Church site and commemorate the struggle for civil and religious freedom in Colonial Virginia by Rev. Samuel Davies and the Hanover Dissenters.

To what end: By accomplishing this mission, we preserve the memory of Hanover Dissenters who struggled courageously and successfully for civil and religious freedom in Virginia and in so doing increase appreciation for the liberties that we enjoy today in the United States.

Who We Are

Board of Directors
Dr. Robert Bluford, Jr Chairman
F. Claiborne Johnston, Jr. President and Secretary
Robert Strohm Vice President
David W. Fuller Treasurer
Robert Bluford, III
David B. Bradley
Roger Dickinson
Robert B. Giles
Kenneth M. Perry
Jane W. Peters
G. Everett B. Reveley
Harry J. Warthen III

Advisory Board
Tommy P. Baer
Richard E. Bartell
Dr. Virgie M. Binford
Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr.
Hugh Gouldthorpe
Ivor Massey Jr.
Martha D. Newell
Sumpter T. Priddy, Jr.
W. Taylor Reveley, III
Rev. R. Jackson Sadler
Dr. James G. Somerville
Professor C. Jan Swearingen

Education Advisory Council
Dr. Mathias Bergman Professor of History -- Randolph-Macon College
Jenny Cote Historical Author -- Atlanta, Georgia
Mark Greenough Supervisor and Historian -- Virginia State Capitol
Jennifer Hurst-Wender Statewide Education Coordinator -- Preservation Virginia
June Lehman AP History Educator -- St. Catherine's School
Dr. Rob Williams Social Studies Lead Teacher Specialist at Hanover County Public Schools
Dr. Jamelle Wilson Dean, School of Professional and Continuing Studies -- University of Richmond

Director of Operations
Beth Young

Director of Communications
Doug Blue
E-Mail: communications@historicpolegreen.org

Tax Information
2014 Form 990

Contact Us

For general information or questions, please contact:

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2111
Mechanicsville, Virginia 23116

(804) 730-3837



Historic Polegreen Church

The Historical Marker Database: Polegreen Church
The Historical Marker Database's entry for the sign marking the Totopotomoy Creek battle fought on and around the grounds of the church.

National and State Resources

APVA Preservation Virginia
The mission of APVA Preservation Virginia is to preserve, promote and serve as an advocate for the state's irreplaceable historic places for cultural, economic and educational benefits of everyone.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Encyclopedia Virginia
Encyclopedia Virginia provides searchable articles on the history of Virginia. Articles can be searched by time and place on maps and in timelines.

National Register of Historic Places
See entry for Hanover Meeting House

Presbyterian Heritage Center
The Presbyterian Heritage Center at Montreat is dedicated to education about the history of Presbyterian and Reformed heritage and its worldwide mission, as well as the special history of Montreat.

Religious Liberty Texts
A list of important texts pertaining to religious liberty provided by Virginia Wesleyan College.

Road to Revolution Heritage Trail
The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail links historic sites and institutions in Virginia that interpret the life of Patrick Henry, orator of the Revolution and Virginia's first governor.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 16 January 1786

Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation
Listing of land trusts and conservancies in Virginia

Virginia Department of Historic Resources
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is the State Historic Preservation Office.

Road to Revolution State Heritage Trail Websites

Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney College is a liberal arts college for men. Patrick Henry, believing that "every free state" should promote "useful knowledge amongst its citizens," helped to create the College in Prince Edward County in 1775. Six of Henry's sons studied there. The 10th oldest college in the United States, Hampden-Sydney also founded the Presbyterian Union Theological Seminary.

Hanover Tavern
Patrick Henry lived at the Tavern site in 1763 when he argued the "Parson's Cause" across the street at Hanover Courthouse.

Historic St. John's Church
St. John's Episcopal Church is the oldest church in Richmond, Virginia. St. John's hosted the Second Virginia Convention in 1775. It was at this meeting that Patrick Henry challenged his comrades with, "Give me Liberty or give me Death."

Red Hill
The Patrick Henry National Memorial. Located in Charlotte County, VA, it was Patrick Henry's residence from 1794-1799. Henry is buried at the site.

Patrick Henry made his home at Scotchtown from 1771 to 1778.

Local Interest

Greater Richmond Tourism Association
The Greater Richmond Tourism Association brings together professionals from the Region's world-class museums, attractions, hotels and related businesses each month.

Hanover County Historical Society
The Hanover County Historical Society's mission is to promote Hanover County's rich history and heritage.

Hanover Historic Commission
The Commission serves as a resource of ideas and initiatives to assist the County in promoting the recognition of and appreciation for the history of the County and protecting, preserving, and restoring the many historic landmarks and areas within the County.

Heritage and History of Hanover County
Heritage and History of Hanover County, Inc. was chartered in 2004 to embark on a series of publishing ventures to introduce the public to Hanover's historic role in our nation's past.

Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
Memorializing the Struggle for Religious Freedom
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