As an outgrowth of this school, and in the next year on October 19, 1863, Reverend Clem Robinson organized the Beulah Baptist Church and became its first Pastor. He and Mr. Dye Carter purchased a city lot and constructed the church on 320 South Washington Street.
The founding members were Brothers Edward Carter, Peter Fox, John Clarke, Brother H.L. Harris (who served as Clerk), Reverend Peter Austin, Deacon John and Sister Ballad, Deacons William and Shadrack Jackson, Brother and Sister Randolph, Reverend L. Brooks, Brother William and Sister Victoria Green, Brother Thomas and Sister Maria Lewis, Deacon Henry and Sister Henrietta Williams, Sister Sarah Smith, Sister Annie Winters and Reverend George Washington Parker, a teacher and leader of the First Select Colored School who founded Third Baptist Church, Alexandria.VA from 1863-1875 and was the first African American on the Alexandria City Council during Reconstruction.
It was a proud time for the Beulah Baptist Church. However, that proud time would soon be brought to a halt.
As the Civil War continued the property and the church building was confiscated by the government and returned to the former owners. The church nonetheless was determined not to be defeated; grew and prospered instead and, on July 2, 1877, Reverend Clem Robinson and the officers repurchased the land. Thirteen years later the property was back into the hands of the Beulah Baptist Church. Beulah continued growing and housing the church, a regular day school, an evening school, and a normal and theological school connected to the rear and in the church’s basement. Thousands were educated and ten were ordained as preachers and sent out to minister the Word of God.
Reverend Clem Robinson served for twelve years and his pastorate was ended in 1875. From 1875 to 2017, twelve other men would take the helm as pastor of the Beulah Baptist Church.
From 1875 through the end of the 19th century were:
Reverend H. Clay Robinson (1875-1877)
Reverend Henry Bailey (1878-1886) (former Pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington D.C.)
Reverend L. C. Scheoff (1886-1887)
Reverend Daniel Morris (1887-1895)
Reverend William Johnson (1896-1902)
Beulah: Into the 20th Century
With the onset of the 20th century, there was a swift increase in membership, building improvements and ministry programs.
Reverend N. T. Moore served for 12 years (1904-1916).
Reverend C. P. Comer (1918-1919) served only one year but organized the first Deaconess Board with Ms. Hannah Lee as Chairlady.
Under Reverend Theodore Cooke (1920-1923), the back of the church was rebuilt, the first electric lighting system was installed, a Hook and Hastings pipe organ was installed, given to Beulah by the Christ Church, Episcopal Alexandria, VA where President George Washington attended. The Hook and Hastings pipe organ is still at the church today.
Reverend B. F. Moss (1924-1930) instituted the first organized system of giving with envelopes.
Reverend Albert Thornton (1931-1953) served for 22 years adding more auxiliaries as well as making more building improvements. Among the auxiliaries organized under his leadership was the Goodwill Men’s Club and the Willing Workers Club. In 1949, the wall on the north side of the church was damaged; however, while in the midst of repairing it the south wall fell. Both repairs were completed with the financial assistance of members of the Deacon Board, Deaconess Board, Trustee Board, Willing Workers Club, Usher Board, the Church Aid Club, and the Ever Ready Sick Club. Having to move out for repairs, worship services were initially held at the Elk’s Home and later at the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Other church programs were held at the First Baptist Church and Third Baptist Church until the basement of the church was reopened in September 1950. The sanctuary was completed in November 1950 and a “Rebuilding Stone” was laid by the Alexandria Lodge No. 48, I.B.P.O.E.W. Reverend Thornton became seriously ill shortly after their return to the church. Reverend N. Howard Stanton of the Nazareth Baptist Church (Orange, VA) was elected to assist with the preaching on the Second and Fourth Sundays of each month.
After the passing of Reverend Thornton, Reverend William H. Brown (1954-1960) served for six years until his passing. The longest-tenured pastor of the church was Rev. Dr. Columbus Watson (1961-2017) who is now our highly esteemed Pastor Emeritus. Reverend Dr. Watson ushered the church into the 21st century serving the church for 58 years (56 years as Pastor) until his retirement on September 30, 2017, and the passing of the baton to his well-able successor, Reverend Professor Quardricos Bernard Driskell, the 14th Pastor of Beulah Baptist Church.
Click on “About Our Church: Rev. Dr. Columbus Watson” to see more of his life, the church history, and church accomplishments (instead of this text, maybe make Rev Watson’s name a live link).
Because of Beulah’s rich history and contributions to the education of “coloreds” in Alexandria, the church is included as part of the tour of the city, including but not limited to, listings in the United States Congressional Record, the National Register of Historic Places, the Virginia State Register, the Alexandria Black History Hall of Fame, sited with a Virginia Historical Marker, etc. Since its founding, Beulah is still located on the very site of its founding South Washington Street serving as a house of worship and school of education.