First Baptist Church grew out of Hampton Baptist Church, the city’s oldest Baptist congregation, dating from 1791. Before the Civil War, whites and blacks shared the same worship service, with white parishioners utilizing the main sanctuary while blacks worshiped from the balcony. In 1863, black churchgoers separated from the parent body to establish their own place of worship. Land was cleared near Washington and Bailey streets (known then as the “Pee Dee” section of Hampton), and construction of the first small frame church was completed in 1865. First Baptist would move once more before opening its doors in a permanent location at North King Street in 1889. It
is believed that General Samuel Chapman Armstrong of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute laid the cornerstone of the building. First Baptist’s first minister was Reverend Zechariah Evans. The church’s third pas- tor, Rev. Richard Spiller, also served as the first president of the People’s Building and Loan Association.