Reveille History

Reveille UMC

The Church

Reveille Church was formed in 1951 from a merger between Union Station Methodist Church and Monument Methodist Church. Union Station Church was relocating to the West End due to the changing demographics of its neighborhood on Church Hill. Union Station (named because it was a "station," or single-church, appointment instead of a circuit) traced its origins back to a Methodist class founded in 1835 by members of Trinity Church and Centenary Church. Monument Church, also facing changing neighborhood demographics, had recently suffered a devastating fire at its location at Park and Allen Avenues. An 1888 class from Laurel Street Methodist Church gave rise to the membership that would become Monument Church.
The new, not-yet-named church met for its first worship service on June 24, 1951 at Thomas Jefferson High School, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Joseph S. Johnston. Soon after the building committee secured nearby Reveille House and its grounds (the so-called "Seven Acres Set-Apart"). The name "Reveille" was adopted for the church and services were held in a new building at the present location on October 31, 1954. 

Building continued in 1962 with the construction of a social hall and classrooms. In 1965, Reveille Weekday School opened. It has grown to be regarded as one of the city's finest preschools. 

The Garth at Reveille was part of the church's 1951 master building plan, but was only completed and dedicated in 1994. This cloistered garden of tranquility and beauty includes a consecrated burial ground for members who select cremation.

On March 20, 2011, ground was broken for the youth center, choir room, welcome center, and chapel. The new facilities opened in May 2012. 
Since its establishment, Reveille Church has been known in Richmond and in the Virginia Conference for its ministries. Strong preaching and stirring music have been central parts of faithful Wesleyan worship at Reveille. Throughout its history, the congregation at Reveille has engaged in missions at home and abroad. Education has always been a hallmark of life at Reveille. Active adult classes and Bible study, on Sunday morning and during the week, and vibrant children's programs continue to be central parts of discipleship. This tradition of ministry continues at Reveille Church today—come join us and see how we can grow in Christ together!

The Legacy of Reveille House

Reveille House, once part of a large plantation facing the James River, is the second-oldest house in Richmond. The land surrounding it was part of a grant by the King of England to the Kennon family, whose Virginia holdings amounted to 50,000 acres. They built the house here as early as 1720.  By 1800, "The Brick House Tract" was a landmark along the Westham Plank Road (now Cary Street). In 1842, the house was acquired by Phillip Mayo Tabb and his wife Martha. Family legend tells that Martha insisted everyone in the household awake before sunrise and the term "reveille call" was well-known by the children. It later came to be applied to the estate, as Henrico County records from 1852 indicate the purchase of "...the Brick House Tract, now called Reveille."
After the Civil War, the house was owned by Confederate veteran and tobacco magnate Dr. R. A. Patterson. Click here to watch a biography of Dr. Patterson, produced by Henrico County Public Relations and Media Services. 

Patterson's daughter, Mrs. E. M. Crutchfield, died without children in 1949. Her will instructed the house be turned over to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) as a museum. The APVA was unable to accept the property with the stipulations and so it was available to be sold. The new church formed by the merger of Union Station and Monument Methodist Churches purchased the house and grounds in 1951.
Like many old houses, Reveille has much folklore in its long history. The best-known legend is about the ghost of a young girl who planned to elope with her lover. At night, in her haste, she fell down the stone steps and broke her neck. Those who have felt the presence of the ghost agree she is friendly and they are not afraid. There is also a secret chamber, accessible only through a trap door on the third floor of the house. It may have been used to hide from Indians when the house was on the frontier. Another story says that children of the house put a cat in it and the cat disappeared without a trace.
Reveille House has also played host to many distinguished guests. Edgar Allen Poe and John James Audubon were both frequent visitors when they were in Richmond. Robert E. Lee bivouacked his troops on Reveille's grounds during the Civil War. One of Dr. Patterson's colleagues, who heard the tobacco manufacturer describe a new blend of tobacco for cigarettes, declared that it was "a lucky strike," thus naming one of America's most famous brands. Ellen Glasgow, an early Southern writer, recorded many of her visits to Reveille House in her book The Woman Within.
Reveille Church is blessed to have this historic house as part of our church and is proud of the history of the house and garden. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The architecture of the house is a mix of Federal and Greek Revival styles. The West Wing, which is the dining room, was added to the original house in 1839. The kitchen wing was added in 1920 by the last owner, Elizabeth Crutchfield. Today the house is cared for by the Reveille House Guild, a group of church volunteers, and the gardens are maintained by the Garden Committee. Reveille House serves as the administrative center of the church and many social activities and meetings are held within its walls.

Recent News
Read the article by Reveille member Anne Hodges about Reveille's history  and archives in The Advocate.