Image of the interior of Zion Episcopal Church
COME BE A PART OF HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Zion Episcopal Church, Saint Andrews Parish, in Charles Town, West Virginia traces its origins to St. Georges Chapel, the ruins of which are located on State Route 51, west of Charles Town. That structure was probably erected in the 1770s, but after the Revolutionary War. fell into disrepair. The original church on Zion’s present site was built around 1815. A larger church was erected in 1847-48, but soon after its completion was destroyed in a terrible fire. The present structure was constructed on the same spot and opened for services on December 6, 1851. It sits on the highest point in Charles Town. At one time there were galleries along each side of the church, but these were removed in 1899. The steeple was completed in the 1890s during the tenure of the Reverend Dallas Tucker. During the Civil War, the church was badly abused by Union Troops and its interior had to be replaced after the war. It had been used as a barracks and, also, as a hospital. There are approximately eighty-five to ninety Confederate soldiers buried here as well as two Revolutionary War officers. The churchyard indicates the great influence in the church, as well as the community, of the Washington family. There are twenty Washingtons buried here who were born at Mount Vernon according to the inscriptions on their grave markers. Approximately seventy members of that family reside in this churchyard. Notably among them is Colonel John A.Washington, the last owner of Mount Vernon and Lucy Todd Washington, sister of Dolly Madison, who was married to George Steptoe Washington. Also buried here is John Yates Beall who was charged, convicted, and hanged as a Confederate spy in New York. Two bishops, i.e. Bishop Beverly Dandridge Tucker and Bishop William L. Gravatt, who was the second Bishop of West Virginia are also buried here. An original poem by Francis Scott Key is inscribed on the stone marking the grave of his friend, Mary Ann Morsel. There are many other persons buried here who were prominent in the history of not only this county but of the country.