Court Summons for Unlawful Preaching
In this 1772 document, the sheriff of Orange County is ordered to summon Nathaniel Saunders, minister of Mountain Run Baptist Church, to appear in Culpeper County Court to answer the charge of "unlawfull Preaching." Virginia required ministers to obtain preaching licenses, but some Baptists refused to do so on the grounds that it was not a matter for man to decide whether someone could preach the Gospel. Baptist ministers who did acquire licenses sometimes violated their terms. Places of worship were usually specified by the licenses, thereby making itinerancy and revival meetings illegal.