The Journey Through Hallowed Ground

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Shady Grove

African Americans in southeastern Orange County established Shady Grove Baptist Church in 1871 and soon purchased land from the Woolfork family. The congregation erected a bush arbor and worshipped there until the church was finished the following year. No school served the area until 1925 when Orange County built one near the church in the light-filled, airy Rosenwald style. It had two rooms heated by wood stoves vented through a central brick chimney. In the 1930s, not far from the church and school, John Mickey lived in a log cabin with a stone chimney, crafting bushel baskets and caning chair bottoms for fifty cents each. His grave is in the church cemetery. Estelle White lived on a nearby finger ridge but ventured out often to deliver babies. Prince Hall Freemasons gathered in a two-story lodge that still stands. Shady Grove Baptist Church has grown into a large brick building and its members are restoring the old school.


  • Orange County African American Historical Society. “The Mickey, White, and Long Families of Shady Grove” in the exhibition, People, Places, and Memory: African-American Families in Orange County, Virginia .
  • Orange County Historical Society, Inc., 130 Caroline Street, Orange, Virginia 22960-1533, (540) 672-5366.
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