John Jasper was born in a slave cabin on Peachy Plantation in Fluvanna County on July 4, 1812, and lived until 1901. In 1839, while working in a Richmond tobacco factory, he was "annointed by the Holy Ghost" and went on to become a preacher.
On Sunday, April 2, 1865, the day the Evacuation of Richmond began, John Jasper preached at the Armory Rolling Mills, next to Tredegar Iron Works.
In September, 1867, Rev. Jasper formed a church on Brown's Island "in a little, old wooden shanty" which had been a stable. After a year, the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church needed larger quarters and in 1869 moved to its present location on Duval Street in Jackson Ward.
"He is a man of great natural ability. The common and plain way and manner he preaches is only in keeping with the openness and candor of his heart... He is of lowly origin, in this he is not unlike thousands of others; owes his fame to no line of illustrious ancestors, but to his own honest exertions and character." -Statement of Deacons and Officers of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1884.