“In February 1878, two sisters were received into the church who became as faithful, devoted and consecrated as any Christians who ever lived. One was Lelia Johnson, afterwards Mrs. Walker Sanford, and the other Evelyn Johnson, afterwards Mrs. W. C. Williams. These two “Elect Ladies” served the church long and well and have left a rich heritage to their children and to their church.”
Rev. William B. Ward
November 8, 1945
Evelyn Williams and the move
In February of 1910, a congregational meeting was held at the close of service. It was to consider an offer of $1,200.00 for the existing church building on what is now Byrd Street. The congregation unanimously agreed to accept the offer and a committee was chosen to select a site for the new church.
The committee included Mrs. Evelyn Williams. Evelyn was also selected to be on the building committee. On March 7, 1910, a meeting of the committee to select the site for the new church was held at Berry Hill, the residence of Mrs. W. C. Williams. After a “free and full discussion”, the Allen lot was chosen for the new church. That lot was at the intersection of, what is now, Caroline and Main Streets.
In 1942, new pews were installed in the church, many of them being given as memorials. Some were given as a memorial to Evelyn Johnson Williams by her children. One is still in our Fellowship Hall.
Jo Williams and the Women's Auxiliary
Josephine "Jo" Johnson Williams was born on June 2, 1893, and was admitted into the church on May 19, 1907. She married Rowland F. Hill Jr. of Locust Dale, VA. On August 31, 1924, Rowland Flint Hill Jr. was received into the membership of the church by letter from Crooked Run Baptist Church. They had two children, Rowland Flint Hill, III and Evelyn Williams Hill. They also lived at Berry Hill.
Mrs. Hill’s sister, Elmira Hansbrough Williams lived at Berry Hill with them. “Miss Elma” also was received into the membership of the church and was a devoted member of the Women’s Auxiliary. (See her story in our archives from earlier.)
“Jo” served on the OPC Women’s Auxiliary in every capacity over the years. She was one of the major forces in serving lunches at the cattle sales, 4-5 times a year.
When our current church was in the beginning stage of construction, Mrs. Hill was part of the groundbreaking ceremony. (More on that later!) Her husband, Rowland Hill Jr. served on the Board of Deacons. (insert photo of groundbreaking)
Rowland and Dot Hill -- and family
On March 31, 1935, Rowland Flint Hill III was received into the membership of the church, and Evelyn was received into the church on July 3, 1938. In 1945, a tribute was paid to Mrs. Josephine Williams Hill’s family for three generations of devoted service, which includes her parents and her children.
In 1944, Rowland F. Hill III married Dorothy MacDonald Childress. They had five children: William Clayton Hill, Rowland F. Hill IV, Floyd Childress Hill, Douglas MacDonald Hill and Jennie Grey Hill. All of the children were baptized in the OPC, attended the Sunday School and participated in Youth Activities.
Rowland served on the Board of Deacons and Dot was a member of the Women of the Church. She enjoyed helping with flowers for the Sanctuary and contributing food for lunches, dinners and receptions. Dot’s church family were her best friends.
Jennie Hill Robinson is still active today. She enjoyed starting the Memorial Garden with others and helping with fund raising for the community. She is currently serving on the Session.
Evelyn (Chip) Hill married Frank (Rev) G. Scott of Orange on December 16, 1961. They had one son, James Rowland Scott, and lived in Texas. They moved back to Orange in 1975. Evelyn Hill is the oldest member of Orange Presbyterian Church at the age of 96 and has, also, been a member the longest.
Jennie Hill Robinson
- OPC History Team