Civil War & Reconstruction Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church

Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church

The Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church was organized in 1868, just three years after the end of the Civil War, by the Reverend York Johnson. Johnson, previously enslaved, and twenty-seven others separated from the White Oak Primitive Baptist Church. Originally it was called the Bethlehem Church of Colored Members. The Reverend Johnson, assisted by The Freedmen’s Bureau, established a benevolent organization called “The Union Branch of the True Vine” (UBTV) and founded the Union Branch School. The school went up to the third grade. The UBTV was an extremely valuable service organization for formerly enslaved people and freedmen in southwest Stafford County. Its primary goal: to help and assist each other in need.