St. Mary’s traces its origins to 1865. Mary Allen, the infant daughter of Richard and Virginia Allen of Tuckahoe Plantation died. Her mother wanted to build a church in her memory, and on May 17, 1877 John and Maclurg Wickham donated three acres of land for that purpose. A mission church was built on the site.
St. Mary’s originally served the coal mining families who lived in this rather poor part of Goochland County. People were mining coal here during the Revolutionary War. Some of it was near the surface, but there are many shafts in the area, and they go very deep. The industry was such that it attracted miners from as far away as Wales. In fact, the first burials in our cemetery were members of the Denton family, which emigrated from Wales, dug the coal and sent young men to fight during the civil war. As you walk behind Little St. Mary’s toward the new buildings, if you look to the right you will see the Dentons under stones 1-5.
The mines produced about 300 tons of coal every day, and it was carried off by a narrow gauge railroad to the C & O tracks at Lorraine Station. The bell from the steam engine that hauled all that coal rings for Worship in Little St. Mary’s even today.
The first service was held at St. Mary’s on September 30, 1877. St. Mary’s remained a mission church for many years, until the Reverend W. Holt Souder was called to be our first rector in March 1962.