St. Matthew's Lutheran Church Christian Day School

Meherrin, Virginia

In 1880 a German Lutheran minister, the Rev. W. R. Buehler, a well-educated man who had worked for five years as a missionary in Africa, moved with his family to Green Bay, Virginia. He had not been in Green Bay long when the black community, knowing he had served in Africa, asked the white minister to preach to them and teach their children. He was reluctant at first, but when he saw the pitiful conditions that they lived in, he consented. The Lutheran Mission Board was agreeable to his appointment in Green Bay, and Mrs. Buehler gave land and logs for a chapel-school for the site. The building cost $200 to build and was dedicated in 1881.

Because of their efforts to help the local black community, the Buehlers were ostracized by their neighbors. Despite the harassment, Mr. Buehler continued to teach and work in the black community, gaining fame for himself along the way. In 1883 he was asked to preach in Doswelltown, near Meherrin. He acted on the offer, moving his school and church to Doswelltown. This was the first black church to own its own parsonage and cemetery.

Shortly after the move Buehler’s poor health caused him to retire. A series of preachers succeeded him, and the church continued to grow. In 1892 the Sunday school had 106 members and the Christian Day School 54 pupils. The Christian Day School took in many children from Prince Edward County when the schools there were closed, organizing extra classes. In 1963, when the school’s main teacher, Mrs. Rahab Jackson, retired, economic pressure caused the school to be closed, but the church continued to flourish, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 1983.

Marker is on Free State Road (County Route 630) 0.4 miles east of Payne Lane, on the right when traveling east.


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