From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Children of Elijah
Arms of Virginia during Prohibitionist rule.
TheologyArminianism, Evangelical
PatriarchElijah I (1868–78)
Elijah II (1878–1895)
Elijah III (1895–1910)
Elijah IV (1910–1930)
Elijah V (1930–1934)
Elijah VI (1934–1946)
Elijah VII (1946–1955)
Elijah VIII (1955–1967)
Elijah IX (1967–1974)
FounderElijah I
Separated fromBaptists

The Prohibitionists, also known as the Great Redeemers and formally the Children of Elijah, among many other names, are a Protestant Christian denomination originating in 19th century Virginia. The Prohibitionists established political dominance over the country from 1914 to 1934, being one of three modern instances of theocratic government in America. Among their most prolific beliefs were racial equality, temperance, and a ban on contraception and abortion, the latter two of which had led to the coining of their common name.

The sect was established by Edward Wilson, commonly known as Elijah I, a Baptist minister who seceded from the wider Baptist community in 1868. Wilson, a millenarian, believed he could heal the sick, communicate with Biblical prophets, and remedy societal ills that were plaguing the country of Virginia at the time. After his martyrdom in 1878 under the rule of Matthew Washington, the sect was forced underground, continuing their activities discreetly until the outbreak of the Virginian Civil War of the early 1910s. In 1914, the Prohibitionists seized the government with the support of the Virginian people, continuing their rule for two decades until the Conservative Coup of 1934, backed by the neighboring state of New Netherland, which effected an end to Prohibitionist rule.


In 1882, the term 'Prohibitionist' was coined to describe the followers of Elijah I and Elijah II, describing their strict teachings against alcohol, contraception, abortion, and premarital relations. It has become the most commonly used term for the group.

Formally, the term Children of Elijah is the most prevalent, and is also the one they themselves use most often. The name League of New Zion refers to the Prohibitionists' millenarian beliefs and Elijah III's description of Virginia as "a new Zion" in a 1908 seminar. Other names include the Great Redeemers and the Wilsonians, with the latter becoming an offensive pejorative against the denomination in the late 19th century, first and briefly used by Elijah I himself in 1868.


Baptist minister Edward Wilson began a movement within the Baptist community in 1868, establishing his own group of followers who were initially known as the Wilsonians. Wilson began to preach of spiritual gifts bestowed upon him by the Holy Spirit, including healing the sick and conversing with Biblical figures. He began to refer to himself as Elijah. In 1870, the group broke from the Baptists, establishing themselves as a distinct Protestant sect, the Children of Elijah. Elijah I denounced mainstream Baptism for their tolerance of Calvinistic beliefs and institutional weakness, citing these characteristics as a reason for the perils of 19th century Virginia. At the end of the the Third Anglo-Virginian War and the economic Crash of 1875, many joined the denomination when Elijah I began preaching a millenarian message, warning of the Second Coming of Christ.

During the Purge of Dissenters in the following years, the Prohibitionists were targeted by Protector of Virginia Matthew Washington. Wilson was assassinated in 1878. The Prohibitionist movement was forced into hiding, continuing operations under a protégé of Elijah I, Allan Brown, who came to be known as Elijah II. Additional prohibitions were created by Elijah II, including restrictions on clothing. It was around this time a number of Afro-Virginian former slaves and freedmen joined the movement, bolstering ideas of racial equality.

The Prohibitionists remained a relatively unimpressive minority until the fall of the Third Republic and the Virginian Civil War which had begun in 1911. They joined a coalition of anti-government groups known as the Black Forces, which included religious and communard factions such as the Tidewater Shipbuilders, the Saint Paul Commune, and the Free Territory of Conroy. The Black Forces swiftly occupied the province of Spotswood and orchestrated several massacres, including that of the Pennsborough Campaign, led by John Seymour, also known as Joshua I. By 1914, the Black Forces had emerged as the dominant coalition of the civil war, with Elijah IV, originally Gregory Kelvin, at the helm.

Once the Prohibitionists entered government, Elijah IV had given himself the title Patriarch and eliminated his political rivals during an initial purgatory period known as the Days of Turmoil. Attempts to ban alcohol resulted in the Pub Riots and the return of William Black, the return of the Martyr faction of the Civil War, to Virginia. Ethnic cleansing and harassment campaigns targeting Amerikaeners, Catholics, and Zoekerists enforced homogeneity and led to thousands of deaths.

William Anderson, known as Elijah V, effectively transformed Virginia into a pariah state by violating treaties, detaining foreign nationals, seizing foreign assets, and brazenly committing atrocities. This led to the 1934 Conservative Coup led by General Edward Anderson, who was sponsored by the government of New Netherland. The Republic of Virginia was re-established, with the liberal Civic Union Party taking power and electing Rodger Taylor as head of government. In 1985, all Prohibitionist political organizations were outlawed.

List of patriarchs

Portrait Name Birth Patriarchate Death
1 Elijah I
Edward Wilson
1868 – 1878
2 Elijah II
Allan Brown
1878 – 1895
3 Elijah III
Edmund Joseph Tyler
1895 – 1910
4 Elijah IV
Gregory Kelvin
1910 – 1930
5 Elijah V
William Anderson
1930 – 1934
6 Elijah VI
Thomas Augustus Charlton
1934 – 1946
7 Elijah VII
Rufus Monroe
1946 – 1955
8 Elijah VIII
Zachary Henry Pierpont
1955 – 1967
9 Elijah IX
John Milledge Lumpkin
1967 – 1974

See also