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Bethlehem Stone Church Records

Identifier: SC 0212
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The Bethlehem Stone Church Records consist of 46 pdf files that conatin scanned images of documents from the church's first year of operation in 1844 through 2011. The records document church business, governance, and day-to-day operations, as well as the history of the church. Materials include meeting minutes, financial records, attendance and membership records, church programming materials, photographs, and scrapbooks. The earliest documents in the collection include a record of the first organization of the church in August of 1844 and a list of original members. Also contained in the collection are materials documenting the activities of the Sunday School as well as the Women's Fellowship, a women's group within the church. Church history materials include scrapbooks as well as written histories that provide details on the institutional history of the church and the Tenth Legion area.


  • 1844-2011
  • Digitized: 2012


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

Bethlehem United Church of Christ, commonly called Bethlehem Stone Church, is located in Tenth Legion, just south of New Market, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley. It was founded in 1844 when Jacob Martz deeded a parcel of land in Tenth Legion to be used as the site for a place of worship. A committee of trustees consisting of John Cowan, Jacob Cowan, Martin Martz, Dorilas Martz, and Jackson Martz was then appointed to superintend the building of the church and Jeremiah Clemons, a local stonemason, was chosen for construction. The church was completed in 1845 and the stone church remained the sole house of worship until 1952 when a second church building was constructed.

During the Civil War the church was used to house Confederate prisoners and also as a makeshift military hospital. The structure was badly damaged during the war and was not repaired until the 1880s. Please see the item titled Written Histories, 1948-1995 in the Church History Materials series for a detailed history of the church and the stone structure. After the Civil War the church was used by several different denominations including the Christian Church, the United Brethren in Christ, and the German Baptist Church. The congregation worshipped in the Stone Church until 1952 when a larger brick church was built on the land beside it. In 1981 Bethlehem Stone Church was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register and in 1985 to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2008 restoration began to the old stone church and was completed in 2011. The structure is now used for special events.


3.51 Gigabytes (46 digital files)

Language of Materials



The Bethlehem Stone Church Records, 1844-2011, is comprised of 46 pdf files that contains digitized images of church records and documents related to the church and church history from its inception in 1844 through 2011.


The collection is organized into the following four series. All series are arranged chronologically.

  1. Administrative Records, 1844-1979
  2. Ladies Aid Society/Women's Fellowship, 1912-1974
  3. Sunday School, 1894-1948
  4. Church History Materials, 1875-2011


Acquiring the collection was suggested to Dr. Mark Peterson of James Madison University Special Collections, by Dr. Andrew Witmer, history professor at JMU. Dr. Witmer intended to include the collection in his History Harvest project but was unable to do so because of time constraints. Dr. Peterson contacted the church and, with the help of the church's secretary, gathered the collection for digitization in 2012.

Acquisition Information

Materials lent by Bethlehem United Church of Christ to JMU Special Collections for digitization in 2012.

Processing Information

The collection was lent to JMU Special Collections for digitization in 2012 and materials were returned to Bethlehem United Church of Christ in 2013. JMU Special Collections originally digitized the materials and processed the images using Adobe Photoshop Elements. Images were re-processed from 2014-2015 by JMU Digital Collections using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge. PDF files were created using Adobe Acrobat Pro X. Please note that the contrast was adjusted on some images to increase the legibility of the original scans. Additionally, some images do not capture the complete content of the item. JMU Digital Collections has made best efforts to provide the clearest and most complete image possible from the original.

Collection was formerly numbered SC 5037.

A Guide to the Bethlehem Stone Church Records, 1844-2011
Lauren Fleming, Kate Morris
May 2013, October 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

880 Madison Drive
MSC 1704
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612