Zion Baptist Church was also established in 1863. The congregation held house-to-house prayer meetings and open-air assemblies. The Reverend William Thornton, a former slave, was its first and only pastor for 39 years. Drawn by his powerful sermons, membership soon grew and a larger structure was raised on County Road (now County Street) in 1869 following the $80 purchase of a half-acre from the American Missionary Association. Zion Baptist Church was instrumental in organizing several other churches in Hampton as well as the Norfolk Union Association. The present building was completed in 1951.