History of Mount Olive

In 1772, John Rector, a German immigrant, came to Virginia, and settled on 4, 872 acres of land on what is now Route 713, Rectortown, after its founder, became a busy agriculture center shipping wheat and cattle daily by rail.  Soon the village incorporated, and Rectortown became Fauquier County’s first town. 

It was in this village during the mid-1800s the people of Rectortown gathered for weekly prayer meetings in the home of Charles and Julia Grant.Thus begins the history of the Mount Olive Baptist Church, a church built on the solid rock of prayers.  A church that offers rich rewards from grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great grandparents.  These ancestors envisioned an institution that would be the consecrated place for the whole community.In 1867, just down the road from where the church stands, a Prayer Band began the construction of the first church.  Rev. James Carter of Culpeper, Virginia, was called as the first undershepherd.  However, he resigned and moved to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1870, before the building was completed. In 1871, Rev. Richard P. Dawson of Orange County, Virginia, became the second pastor.  Under Rev. Dawson’s leadership, the church which continued to grow and prosper, was completed.  However, this church was destroyed by fire. 

Due to his great leadership abilities, the people were not discouraged, and they rebuilt a new edifice on the same site.During his pastorate, the Sunday School, Willing Workers Club, Whole Soul, Bell Club, and a choir directed by Mrs. Harriet Johnson Hall were organized.  Four great sons of the ministry developed under this pastor: Rev. G. C. Bannister, Rev. Peter W. Austin, Rev. N. H. Johnson, and Rev. Arthur Stuart.  Many deacons also emerged under this leadership.  Rev. Dawson consented for the church to be used as a school, and Thomas Shorts of The Plains, Virginia, was the first teacher. 

During Rev. Dawson’s leadership, Mount Olive’s growth advanced beyond the church into Northern Virginia Baptist Association (NVBA) in 1877.  Revivals were as special as “All Day Meetings”, and ministers from the community supported the spirit-filled services. Rev. Dawson died in 1921, visiting ministers traveled to Rectortown via railway.  The line ran from Washington, D.C. to Harrisburg, Virginia.  Rectortown was considered the “Branch Line.”  Our members lived in Rectortown, Flat Woods, Frogtown and on “The Mountain.”  They traveled by foot, horse and carriage to church.The Mount Olive Church relocated approximately one-half mile west to its present site.  The cornerstone was laid on September 17, 1911.  The new edifice was something to behold.  The first couple to exchange their wedding vows in this new sanctuary was Thomas Smith and Blanche Tines.Although Mount Olive had a news church, the second church building was still being utilized for church services, school programs, and festivals.  This building was sold and demolished in 1924.A year later, Rev. Francis E. Pree was called to lead Mount Olive.  During his ten year pastorate, renovations were made to the pulpit and new pews were purchased.  Two of the pews remain in the fellowship hall today.  The existing bell was a gift from the Bell Club.In Rev. Pree’s first revival, sixth-five people were baptized into the faith. 

Mount Olive was the first rural church to have an usher board and individual communion servings under Rev. Pree’s guidance.  Those of us who remember him can still hear him singing, “Every Time I Feel the Spirit”.Mount Olive called its fourth pastor, Rev. John H. Ford, in 1932.  Church service continued to be held every third Sunday.  Holy Communion was served on alternate third Sunday evenings.  Several new organizations were established:  Sunday School Club, Young People’s Club, Busy Bee, Junior Choir, Mount Olive Chorus, Baptist Training Union, and the Missionary Society.  On January 18, 1954, many hearts were saddened as a result of Rev. Ford’s death.Rev. G. W. Richardson of Washington, D.C., came to us in February 1955 as our firth under shepherd.  He organized the Deaconess Board, Floral Club, Counselor Fathers, Men and Women Clubs, Willing Workers, and reorganized the Baptist Training Union.  Rev. Richardson appointed Junior Deacons, a Junior Usher Board, and a Youth Missionary Circle.  Thursday night was established for Prayer Meetings and church services extended to first and third Sundays.  Our major projects: the dining room, and kitchen, were built and completed in 1956.  Rev. Richardson pastored until his death in 1960.  Although his time as a pastor was short, much was accomplished.Rev. Dr. Norman W. Smith, Sr., was called to Mount Olive in June 1961.  At that time, Rev. Smith was a recent graduate of Washington Baptist Seminary and assistant pastor at Salem Baptist Church, Dranesville, Virginia.  Mount Olive has grown spiritually through the guidance of our pastor.  Rev. Smith directed the church to sponsor a Boy Scout unit, initiated a scholarship program. Developed a Senior Citizens Program, Food Bank Program and an Emergency Relief Committee.  Together, Mount Olive and Pastor Smith have seen the formation of Vacation Bible School and Sunday School expansion.  In 1986, our ministry extended to the residents of Oak Springs Nursing Home in Warrenton, Virginia.  Pastor Smith’s love for music led to the organizing of the Rosebuds, Gospel Chorus, Gospel Tones, and the Mount Olive Special.  “The Olive Leaf” newsletter was also created.Mount Olive has grown beyond that first “one story structure”.  The interior and exterior of the sanctuary has been renovated.  Adjacent land was purchased to build rest room facilities and a baptismal pool.  On April 17, 1982, the educational wing was dedicated to the Lord.  Pastor Smith’s leadership and foresight encouraged us to step out on faith and discontinue rallies to become a tithing church.  Mount Olive has prospered by this act of faith.  In 1983, Rev. Smith retired from the United States Postal Service becoming a full-time pastor.As we grew as a church, our fellowship with other churches and organization developed. 

We are active members of the NVBA, NVBA School & B.T. U and Sunday School Union, Baptist General Convention, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention and Baptist World Alliance.  Support has been provided to the Washington Baptist Seminary, Virginia Union University, and the Virginia University of Lynchburg.

Among accomplishments, Rev. Smith received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from the Virginia Seminary and College, December 6, 1989, honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the Richmond Virginia Seminary, March 2003, an honorary Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies and a Masters of Divinity from Virginia University of Lynchburg, November 14, 2004.

Rev. Smith served as Director of the Rectortown Extension School; Chairman of the Executive Committee—Board of the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention; Trustee of the

NVBA Center Board; Moderator of the NVBA, Chairman of the Executive Board, NVBA; Catechizer for NVBA – preparing over 66 ministers for ordination; President of the Northern Virginia Baptist Minister’s Conference; and Chairman of the Baptist Center Board.  Member of the Baptist World Aid Committee of the Baptist World Alliance, Fauquier County and Vicinity Ministers Coalition and President of the Fauquier County Branch of the NAACP.Rev. Smith supported Mount Olive in our expansion of the dining room, the front foyer, the adding of stained glass window in the sanctuary and the building of a church website.

Pastor Smith’s leadership of 50 years has been extraordinary with his faith, love and belief.  We have been blessed to know with God all things are possible.  He has been a source of strength for all to lean on.  We will continue to build on that sure foundation that he has led us knowing that all of our help comes from the Lord.

Mount Olive called its seventh pastor Rev. Tony J. Craddock, Sr., July, 2012. Rev. Craddock is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and educated in the Detroit Public School System.  He served 21 years of honorable service in the United States Marine Corps.  In January 1982, he was licensed to preach the gospel at his home church, Christian Faith Baptist, Detroit, Michigan.  In February 1998, Rev. Craddock was ordained into the gospel ministry by the Northern Virginia Ministers Association, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Arlington, Virginia where he served as Director of Children and Youth Ministries.

During his pastoral ship, Rev. Craddock installed two trustees, consecrated a deaconess, presented the positions “Mother and Father of the Church, and telephone conferences for Bible Study.  Rev. Craddock organized a “tele-church so that members of the congregation could call in to rejoice and sing despite the dismal weather.  He supported the community functions and reached out to other denominations for fellowship.His favorite scripture is Isaiah 40:31: “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on wings as eagles, run and not get weary, walk and not faint; wait I say on the Lord”.

On September 1, 2016, Rev. Craddock, submitted his letter of resignation as the Pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Rectortown, Virginia.

Mt. Olive continues to praise God in it's fulness and receiving His Grace.