September 20

Unlike New England, the Colony of Virginia nodded towards the Church of England as the only legal religious denomination within its borders. But the priests and prelates in Virginia arrived with the same hypocrisy and licentious behavior which drove the Puritans from the Anglican church in England and to the shores of Plymouth and Massachusetts.
As Baptists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New England began to enter the colony, preaching repentance and a regenerated church membership, the Anglican clergy became furious. And when their constituents began to surrender to the Lord, joining the burgeoning Baptist congregations, the full force of the law was leveled against both preachers and their converts.
In early September 1773 warrants were issued for the arrest of Nathaniel Saunders and William McClannahan who were teaching and preaching “Contrary to the Laws and Usages of the Kingdom of Great Britain, raising Sedition & Stirring up Strife amongst his Majestie’s Liege People.”
On this day  in 1773, Nathaniel Saunders appeared before the court and was charged according to the warrant. Speaking in his own defense, he was unable to turn the predetermined minds of his accusers. He was found guilty and charged £200 (about $1,000), which the government knew was impossible for any ordinary man to pay. Then in “leniency” the court merely prohibited him “to teach, preach or exhort for the space of one year,” but he would not consent. Bro. Saunders accepted the alternative of going to the Culpeper jail, where he spent an undetermined period of time.
Culpeper is infamous for imprisoning more Baptist preachers than any other county in Virginia or the rest of the colonies.