Many of the settlers in the American colonies were escaping religious repression or conflicts among religions. The Roman Catholic church dominated much of western Europe. The Anglican church used Scots to settle northern Ireland as a balance for the Catholic Irish.

Anglicans controlled the southern colonies. Colonial law of Virginia was typical of the others. Only Anglican priests could be ministers. Only Anglicans could have churches. The other denominations could have meeting places with clerks. The parish records of christenings, weddings, and funerals became the official county records of births, marriages, and deaths. The intent to marry was announced in three consecutive church services after which, without objection, a couple was licensed to marry.

Only members in good standing in an Anglican parish were permitted to hold civil office. The priest was likely to be the only amply literate resident to be a school teacher and the only likely owner of book collections. William and Mary was the Old Dominion’s only official college. To be a Virginia county surveyor, one had to be certified by William and Mary.

William Hogue was the Presbyterian minister for a Frederick County VA congregation at Opequon. He was fined in court for performing a marriage, then fined much more for his reaction to the judgment in court.

Only Anglican children were officially born citizens. As far as King George was concerned, the others were bastards.

When speaking of freedom of religion, the unofficial denominations were speaking about equality, respect and first class citizenship.

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