1879 Trinity Church - CHSV

Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia
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1879 Trinity Church

         1879 Historic Trinity Church
Historic Trinity Church Facts

The first church on this site was called Central Church, erected in 1855 on land owned by the Reverend George Nolley and his wife. It was an unusually large church which included a gallery for African-American members. Among the local population, the church became known as “Nolley’s Folly,” many residents believing it had been a joke to build such a large church. Central Church only lasted a few   decades.  Loss of membership during  the Civil War, when soldiers left and did not return, resulted in its demolition in 1871. At the time, the Methodist congregation’s closest church was located at Zion Hills, five miles away.  By 1887, the Chester and Chesterfield congregation determined they had enough members to support another church. Historic Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church South was   built by Sam Ellison, a merchant and florist, on the former site of Central Church which land was, by then, owned by the Cogbill family.

On September 8,1887, the cornerstone was laid in the presence of a large gathering. It served its congregation for 100 years until October 1987 when the congregation relocated and the building was purchased by Chesterfield County.  It was used for many purposes (offices, police training and storage of odds and ends).  Since July 2013, the Chesterfield Historical Society of VA  office and research/genealogy libraries have operated out of Historic Trinity Church.
Historical Trinity Church  Notes

All structures, especially historic buildings, have a timeline of existence unless a dedicated group can step in and preserve it. In the mid 1800s, the Methodist parsonage in Manchester was sold and with only $500 from their share of the deal, the local people selected Chesterfield to become the site to start anew and purchased Castlewood, ca. 1817-1819.  They used the new parsonage for about twelve years in the mid-19th century, and especially for their traveling Methodist ministers during the time of Trinity’s existence as a church.

Currently, the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia is utilizing the building as its headquarters and research libraries.  The Society moved from Historic Castlewood, which sits nearby to the church just across Krause Road and was once the parsonage for the Methodist.

Marcus A. Cogbill, Clerk of the Court.
Prominent people of Chesterfield County once sat in the old Trinity Church congregations. Marcus A. Cogbill, (1842- 1900) was a Chesterfield County Clerk of the Court from 1874-1900. He served as a private in the Confederate Army during the Civil War under his uncle, Captain WWT Cogbill, who had also been a Clerk of the Circuit Court.  He married Virginia Emma Perdue Moody.  

After the war, Marcus Cogbill and his wife Emma Cogbill purchased "Magnolia Grange" and he became the Deputy Clerk of Chesterfield County Court under his brother, Nathan Hale Cogbill. Marcus and Emma Cogbill attended Trinity church and were quite active in the little church.  He became a deacon in the congregation.  One of his tasks as a deacon was to see that the wood stove was burning  to warm the church and sufficient wood was available for that purpose.  The church survived well into the 21st Century when a bigger church was needed for the congregation.  
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