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8106 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Mechanicsville, Virginia 23111

#tommynance Booksigning
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Books, Beads & More is welcoming Tommy Nance on January 20th from 11 - 2 to sign his book

Who has been called, "The greatest preacher America ever produced?" Did you know that the preacher whose sermons were printed and reprinted more than anyone else's in the world for at least 100 years lived in Mechanicsville, Va.? Did you know that Patrick Henry, "the voice of the American Revolution," credited a preacher from Hanover, Virginia as "the greatest orator he ever heard" and "the one who taught him "what it meant to be an orator?" Did you realize that Hanover County was "the cradle for religious freedom" and home to "the father of religious toleration" and one who is acclaimed "the grandfather of religious freedom?"

And, did you realize that in a proclamation dated October 11, 2023 the Hanover County Board of Supervisors referred to "Pearson's Corner" at the crossroads of Rt. 301 (Chamberlayne Rd.) and Rural Point/New Ashcake Roads as "The Crossroads to Freedom at Pearson's Corner?"

Most of us in central Virginia; and in Hanover; and even in Mechanicsville don't know about much of all this? Neither did we realize that Patrick Henry's paternal grandfather, Isaac Winston had a 600 acre plantation in Hanover called, "Laurel Grove;" nor that half of this plantation was where this preacher lived on a 300 acre farm (called a glebe); with a significant portion of this land being developed now by KIng's Charter's own Larry Shaia? And, did you know that there were slaves from the Laurel Grove Plantation who jumped Totopotomy Creek on Saturday evenings to go to Rev. Samuel Davies' home where he taught them to read and write? And, that those slaves wrote the spiritual, "Lord, I Want to Be a Christian in My Heart" in Samuel Davies kitchen...right here in Mechanicsville, Virginia?

Did you know that Hanover's and Randolph Macon's own Tommy Nance has written a book about Hanover's pre-revolutionary history that we all should realize and for which, all Virginia and America should be "counting our blessings!"

Virginia's Department of Historical Resources will unveil an historical marker in the front yard of New Hanover Presbyterian Church on Chamberlayne  as soon as the marker is manufactured (they believe this summer) to celebrate the Polegreen Church's "dissenters glebe" of their pastor without peer, The Rev. Samuel Davies!

Mechanicsville and Hanover became the epicenter for the South's Great Awakening," a spiritual awakening in the 1740's and 1750's that morphed into a spirit for freedom and independence from England in the 1760's-1780's!

Tommy Nance has written a condensed biography of the Rev. Samuel Davies, making the claim that this unsung hero should be considered America's Forerunner.  This book is deliberately short and easily readable  in a day or two. At least, glance at The Foreword and the book's endorsers, who read like a "Who's Who" of central Virginia!

Take the challenge of the book's prelude: See if you will agree with the author that the proper accolade for Virginia's own Samuel Davies should be: "America's Forerunner?" 

Oh, you think you know all about Hanover's history and Patrick Henry and Henry Clay, etc? You will undoubtedly realize, "Well, I thought I did!"

By the way, an important byproduct of buying the book is that the author offers free tours with historical insights that a hundred to two hundred have already taken. Begin to realize that the dreams and ideals for America (many still unrealized) took root right here in central Virginia! The tour stops are listed near the end of this book. America needs real heroes for all Americans. Well, you will find one whose untold story is being revealed almost in your own backyard!

About the author…

Tommy Nance and his wife, Diane Woodlee Nance are celebrating their 55th year of marriage in 2023 and continue to celebrate their greatest blessings: Grown children, Jack and Richard Nance and Amy Nance Henderson with their spouses and eight grandchildren.

Tommy graduated from George Wythe High School in Richmond, Va. in 1965; then, from Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Va. in 1969, where he played football and baseball. He taught and coached in two Richmond high schools, George Wythe and Armstrong before receiving a Masters in Education degree from The University of Richmond and becoming a school administrator. 

He served as an assistant principal at two Richmond schools before becoming the principal at J. B. Fisher Elementary, Elkhardt Middle, and Westover Hills Elementary; all in the Richmond Public Schools.

Tommy received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Union Theological 

Seminary (Richmond) in 1985 before serving for 3 years as the pastor of Mount Olive and Baker Presbyterian Churches in Mount Olive, NC; followed by 20 years as the pastor of New Hanover Presbyterian Church in Mechanicsville, Va; and 7 years as the pastor of Northeast Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg, Fl.

In retirement, he planted Aim Church in Ashland, Va (Ashland Impact MIssion) and served as an Assistant Pastor at St. Giles  Church in Richmond. He leads the “Care and Connection Team” of East Central Presbytery in a relatively new Presbyterian denomination (ECO) or “Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians” in seeking to care for the ECO pastors in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Maryland. 

He recently began serving on The Historic Polegreen Church Foundation Board and speaks at various church and community groups on many of the topics found in America’s Forerunner. 

He is the author of: God, What Kind of Human Being Do You Want Me to Be? (soon to be released); Scary, Scary Church Contrary...So, Let's Get Your Church to Grow!; and The Putting Gospel, New Putting - Better Putting for Bogey Golfers (Take 3 Strokes Off Your Score; Only Half That if You Play Sunday Morning!).

For more copies of America's Forerunner go to the website of The Historic Polegreen Church Foundation Board at  or you may call our board administrator at 804-730-3837 or email

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