“The New Vine Baptist Church was organized in July 1870. It all began when a few families living at Westover Plantation were holding prayer services from house to house. Then Mr. Major Drewery,* who was the plantation owner, offered the families living there a piece of land on which to build a church. Several families, including some from Elam Baptist Church (Ruthville) and First Baptist Church (Bermuda Hundred), accepted Mr. Drewery’s offer. They picked a spot about 600 feet from the Herring Creek, built a church and gave it the name New De Vine Baptist Church. As the years passed, the name New De Vine was dropped and the church was given the name New Vine Baptist Church.” — from “About Us,” www.newvinebaptist-charlescity.com/About
I don’t know when the Allens first began worshiping at New Vine, but they may have been among its earliest members. Graham Allen was a preacher — was this his congregation? He is buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery behind the church. John Allen Sr. married Mary Agnes Holmes at New Vine in 1900, and his brother-in-law Stephen Whirley was a deacon there for 47 years before his death in 1949.
[*Sidenote: During the Civil War, at the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff in 1862, troops under the command of Augustus Harrison “A.H.” Drewry, stationed on his land high above the James River, held off the Union warships Monitor and Galena. After the war, Drewry moved across the river to Charles City County to Westover Plantation, built in the 1750s by William Byrd III.]