The Cradle of Methodism
The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation is a tax exempt 501 (c) 3 organization formed in 2004 to identify, preserve and interpret significant sites on the old Brunswick Circuit—the first Methodist circuit in Virginia and one of the oldest in America. In 18th and 19th century America it was commonplace for clergy—usually Methodist—to travel preaching widely and to serve numerous congregations; the regions served by a preacher were called “circuits.”
The old Brunswick Circuit was the first created as the Petersburg Circuit in 1773, but was renamed Brunswick the following year. Rev. Edward Dromgoole described in a letter that at that time Virginia had “but one Circuit, which extended from Chesterfield County…to the north of Petersburg, to the south of Tar-River in North Carolina, including many counties, making several hundred miles to ride once around.” The Brunswick Circuit hosted major revivals in 1775-1776, a time in which the colony’s Methodist population almost doubled. This enthusiasm and growth of Methodism in the Brunswick Circuit greatly outpaced the rest of the nation and the region became known as “the cradle of Methodism.”
The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation currently owns or manages three of the many historic sites within the boundaries of the original circuit:
• Original campus of Randolph-Macon College, Boydton, VA—chartered in 1830; Boydton Academic & Bible Institute—1879-1930s
• Site of Ebenezer Academy, Warfield VA—first Methodist school in America, established bet. 1783-1793
• Rev. Edward Dromgoole House, Valentines, VA, circa 1798
Mission: To preserve, record, interpret and sustain the heritage and impact of early Methodist church and school organizers through the interpretation of significant structures and sites within the historic Brunswick Circuit.
Vision: Provide a cultural resource that will be a vehicle to support heritage tourism, secondary and higher education, and scholarly interaction using core landmarks—at Ebenezer Academy, the original Randolph Macon College/Boydton Institute, and the Edward Dromgoole house—to illustrate their local and national impact on society, civil rights and education through a Bishop Francis Asbury Heritage Trail, site interpretation and/or structural preservation relative to each resource, and programed activities.
Articles About the Site
Following are articles about the Old Brunswick Circuit site. The first is a history of this circuit that shows its importance for early Methodism. The other is about the early history of Randolph-Macon College in Boydton. The third is about Devereux Jarratt who preached on the Old Brunswick Circuit during colonial days.
- History of the Old Brunswick Circuit
- Early History of Randolph-Macon College in Boydton
- Devereux Jarratt and the Beginnings of Methodism in Virginia
Membership and Donations
Support the implementation and maintenance of the projects of the OBCF. Donations and membership fees are fully tax deductible.
MAIL IN DONATIONS
The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation
P.O. Box 385
Lawrenceville, VA 23868
Membership in the Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation is open to anyone interested in the preservation and interpretation of sites in the Cradle of Methodism and provides on-going support for our work. Please download the membership application and send it along with your check to the address on the form.
Annual Membership $25
Family Membership $40
Supporting Membership $75
Sustaining Membership $100