matters in the parish. Her sweet, rich voice and her skill in managing entertainments rendered her services to the
church invaluable. She had been the
chief singer in the choir for several years; she had organized and
trained in 1886 the first boy
choir of the church, besides taking a principal part in all the entertainments of the parish for church
or social purposes. Her removal was,
therefore, keenly felt. It is a pleasure, however, to know that Grace
Church's loss is another's
gain, and that Mrs. Goldthorp's zeal and ability are still doing good service for the church in another
This year (1891)
was marked also by several changes in the leadership of the choir. Early in February the precentor, Richard Burfoot, resigned, after
a year's service, and soon
thereafter Mr. M. L. Stout,
long the faithful organist of the church, expressed his wish to retire. These two
resignations left the choir without a master, and the church without an organist, and
caused, for about two months, serious interruption to the music of the
On the first of
April, however, the vestry secured the services of Daniel Dore Ezechiels, a fine musician and a skillful
choir-master, who at once set to work with enthusiastic vigor to reorganize and drill the choir. In
a few months he brought it to a higher state of efficiency than it had ever reached
before. In speaking of the matter, Mr. Ezechiels said: "If the choir's improvement has been
satisfactory, it is largely due to the generous
assistance of the rector and vestry
and to the cheering encouragement of the ladies of the Mite Society; but it is particularly
due to the members of the reorganized choir themselves, every one of whom has done his
During the summer
vacation, new choir-stalls were put in the church, a new robing room was built, and electrical signals
connecting the organ and the robing room were supplied by the liberality of Mr. William Naysmith. When the
services were resumed in September the choir was in good training and the
music very acceptable. It was evident that the boys were in the hands of a skillful master.
But the church was
not to have the services of Mr.
Ezechiels for any considerable time. In October he received an offer from St.
Mass., to take charge of their choir, with the promise of a much larger
salary than Grace Church could
pay him; and so the rector and vestry agreed, at his request, to release him on the first of
December, from his contract with them, and he left and went to Massachusetts. They then
engaged Mr. James Dodworth,
late of Sheffield, England, to
fill the vacancy. He proved to be an efficient choir-master, and during his incumbency very successfully
maintained the musical part of the service.
The Sunday School
of the parish has long been very successfully conducted by the earnest efforts of Mr. John C. Shaler, our faithful
Superintendent. Notwithstanding engrossing
duties which keep him very busy all the week, he devotes a large
portion of each Lord's Day to
Sunday School work. He gathers about him a band of effective teachers, whom he inspires with a large
share of his own enthusiasm.
Two occasions in
the church year are of special interest to the Sunday School —the Christmas festival, and the Whitsunday
afternoon service. The Christmas festival of this year, in accordance with a
long-established custom, was held on the evening of Holy Innocents Day (December 28, 1891).
The attendance was large, completely filling the schoolroom. The rector held a short
service and addressed the children. The singing of carols, the distrbibution of Christmas
presents, and the general good cheer of the company, all combined to make the festival
a very pleasing event. It is not, however, these features of the occasion, but the record of
the attendance of the scholars, that we desire to note here. This record gives
evidence of the interest of scholars and teachers in their school, as shown in the regular
attendance of such a large proportion of the pupils.
mentioned in the following classes attended thirty-five or more Sundays
during the past year, reckoned
from Advent to Advent, leaving out the month of August, during which the school is closed.
Miss Bigham's class : George Reed, Willie Kenah, Willie
Hughes, Frank Bond, Oscar Torrence,
Miss Bowman's class: Kate
Needham, Josephine Needham, Mary Williams, Emma
Henry, Rachel Waite.
class: Thomas Eicher, Frank
Glaize, George Glaize, Albert Heinreich, Christian
Heinreich, Samuel Howarth.
class: Nellie Naysmith, Jeannette
McKain, Ella McKain, Alice Gould, Sadie
Glaize, Lydia Eicher, Violet Bollman.
Hughes's class: Willie Girvan,
George Swerger, Fred. Swerger, Lewis McKain, Edward
Gould, Willie Niven, Paul Harper.
class: Alice Williams, Mary
Williams, Eliza Williams, Maggie Alstadt, Edith
Minsinger, Lillie Heinreich.
Miss Annie Hughes's
class: Aaron Speer, Willie Jones,
Harry Reed, Albert Turbett, Joseph
Ashford, Eddie Zehfuss, Stanley Wilmot, George Wilmot, Albion McMillin.
Miss Ream's class: Lenora Ashford, Margaret Ashford, May
Minsinger, Carrie Minsinger.
class: Rosie Naysmith, Cora
Bowman, Annie Armiger, Sadie Armstrong, May
Cargo, Mary Ashford.
class: Ida Newell, Ardella
Torrence's class: Alfred Bowman,
Joseph Needham, Harry Needham, Albert Glaize.
Miss Kenah's class:
Carrie Howarth, Sadie Minsinger,
Maud Minsinger, Lulie Stout, Annie Louderbaugh.
class: Howard Niven, Willie
Louderbaugh, Robert Naysmith, John Patton, John
We record with
pleasure in the history of the church this "Roll of Honor." As "men are
but children of a larger
growth," we venture to predict that these same persons will be found to
be constant and faithful in the
duties of mature life. "He that is faithful in the least thing will also be faithful in that which is much."
here the hours of service and the parish directory, as given in the
parish paper, GRACE CHURCH
RECORD, for June, 1892.
Cor. Bertha and Sycamore Streets,
Thirty-second Ward, Pittsburgh, Pa.
HOURS OF SERVICE.
Morning Prayer and Sermon, 10:30
Evening Prayer and Sermon, 7:30
Holy Communion, First Sunday of each
Baptisms, any Sunday except first
Sunday of the month.
Sunday School at 9:30 A. M.; Mission
2:30 P. M.
Rev. Robert John Coster, Penn Avenue
and Fourth Street.
Meets at 8 P. M. on the first Tuesday
of each month,
at residence of Captain McMillin.
Alfred Marland, Senior Warden.
O. H. Stinson, Junior Warden.
William P. Linhart, Treasurer.
John C. Shaler, Jr., Secretary.
Thomas F. Ashford, John S. McMillin,
Sadler, M. D., Vestrymen.
Organist and Directress, Miss Taylor.
Assistant, Mr. Samuel Kenah.
Librarian, Robert Revelvey,
Sacristan, G. Fred Johnson.
Cantoris (trebles)—Harry Needham. R.,
Aaron Speer, Hunter Dewsnap, William
Heinrich, Herman Soffel.
Decani (trebles)—Noel Montreville,
ler, Harry Read, Willie Smith, George
Hetling, Herman Heinrich, Sylvester S.
Altos—William J. McCaddon, James L.
Tenors—William J. White, Ed. Gould,
Bassos—Robert Revelvey, G. Fred
Johnson, E. C.
Shaler, William Groves, Samuel Kenah,
H. G. Shaler.
F. Ashford, Jr., Ed. C. Purkey,
Thomas G. Bond, George A. Johnson.
GRACE CHURCH GUILD.
Meets in Sunday School room, third
Thursday of each
month, at 8 P. M.
President, George A. Johnson.
Vice President, Thomas G. Bond.
Treasurer, Joseph S. Bollman.
Secretary, Robert Revelvey.
Executive Conmmittee, Thomas F.
William L. Bond, Thomas Jones, G. P.
Meets at call of President.
President, Mrs. Helen Harper.
Secretary, Miss Bessie Kenah.
Treasurer, G. P. Whaley.
Superintendent, John C. Shaler, Jr.,
Organists, Miss Bessie Kenah and Miss
Librarian, G. P. Whaley.
Classes and Teachers.
Bishop Kerfoot—Miss E. A. Bigham.
Star of Bethlehem—Miss Hattie Bowman.
Christian Soldiers-Miss Ida Armiger.
Robert J. Coster—Miss Ardella
Bishop Whitehead—Miss Lizzie Hughes.
Bishop Lyman—Miss Annie M. Newell.
The King's Sons—Miss Annie Hughes.
Bishop Bowman—Miss Ida Newell.
Infant Gleaners—Mrs. Helen Harper.
Daughters of Grace—Miss Kate Ream.
Maria L. Bigham—Mrs. N. R. Shaler.
Young Evangelists—Miss Rebecca
The Bible Class—Miss Louise G. Taylor.
St. Dorcas—Miss Bessie Kenah.
Superintendent's—Mrs. Margaret McKain.
DUQUESNE HEIGHTS MISSON SUNDAY SCHOOL.
Superintendent, John C. Shaler, Jr.
Organist, Miss Madge Florence.
Charity Circle ............... Mrs.
Robert J. Coster Juniors...... Mrs.
The Young Churchmen........ Mrs. Lowe.
Earnest Workers ............ Mrs.
Lambs of the Fold........... Mrs.
MITE SOCIETY OF GRACE CHURCH.
Meets alternate Wednesdays, at 2 P. M.
President, Mrs. A. M. Whittier.
Vice President, Mrs. M. A. Thompson.
Treasurer, Mrs. J. S. McMillin.
Secretary, Mrs, Nellie R. Shaler.
Executive Committee, Mrs. Bond, Mrs.
Mrs. Niven, Mrs. Florence, Mrs.
AItar Committee, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs.
Mrs. Naysmith, Mrs. McMillin, Mrs.
Speer, Mrs. Shaler, Mrs. McKain, Mrs.
Visiting Committee, District No.
Mrs. Shaler. District No. 2—Mrs.
Linhart, Mrs. Montreville.
District No. 3—Mrs. Lowe, Mrs. Perkey,
District No. 4—
Mrs. Harper, Mrs. McMillin. District
No. 5—Mrs. Whittier,
BISHOP WHITEHEAD CIRCLE, DUQUESNE
President, Mrs. Bond.
Vice Presidents, Mrs. Lowe and Mrs.
Treasurer, Mrs. Florence.
Secretary, Mrs. Richards.
THE JUNIOR AUXILIARY (MISSION BAND).
Meets alternate Wednesdays, at 7:30 P.
M., at residence of Mrs.
Armstrong, 66 Southern Avenue.
President, Miss Ardella Armstrong.
Secretary and Treasurer, Miss Ida
Organist, Miss Nellie Read.
MEMBERS OF THE PRAYER BOOK SOCIETY.
Mrs. J. S. McMillin, Mrs. W. P.
Linhart, Mrs. J. C. Shaler.
A few changes will be noted in this list when compared with that taken
from the parish paper for
March, 1890. Mr. James Dodworth,
who succeeded Mr. Ezechiels
as choirmaster and organist on
December 1, 1891, left us on the first of June, 1892, and accepted an engagement as organist of
Trinity Church, Pittsburgh. The withdrawal of Mr. Dodworth was a great loss to the
parish and choir, as he was a very competent
and successful choirmaster.
Miss Louise G. Taylor was
employed to fill the vacancy, and under her management the music was very acceptably rendered. She
continued to hold the position of organist and directress until October 1, 1893, when,
from pressure of duty as teacher in the Mount Washington public school, she was obliged
to resign. During her incumbency the choir consisted of six men and fourteen boys, and
maintained a fair degree of efficiency.
MISSION SUNDAY SCHOOL, DUQUESNE HEIGHTS.
A Sunday School was opened Sunday, June 12, 1892, on Duquesne Heights,
by some of the church women of
the neighborhood, for the benefit of the children living in that part
of the parish who were unable
to attend the parish Sunday School. The chief promoters of the undertaking were Mrs. W. L. Bond, Mrs. James Florence,
Mrs. J. J. Lowe, Mrs. W. P. Linhart, Mrs.
E. C. Purkey and Mrs. Fred. Richards. Mr. John C. Shaler, the
parish Sunday School superintendent,
took charge of this work also, and under his direction the school was
regularly organized and the
sessions held in Grandview Hall, corner of Grandview Avenue and Oneida street. It has been doing good work in
caring for the younger children of the parish in that vicinity, and now, at the end of the third year, has
an attendance of eight teachers and about seventy children.
The fall of this
year was marked by the loss of one of our devout and faithful workers, Mrs.
Elizabeth A. Smithson, a widow, aged sixty years. She had been
raised a Methodist, but after attending
the services for some time with her daughter, she became fully
satisfied that she found in
the Church's teaching and worship the help and comfort that she needed.
She therefore decided to
confirmation, and after attending the rector's instructions during the
Lenten season of 1886 she is
confirmed March 21, and was at once admitted to the Holy Communion. She continued a consistent and earnest
servant of her Divine Master to the end. She received her last communion during her
final illness, on October 29, with the rector and her daughter Edith, and died in peace, full
of faith and hope, on All Saints Day, November 1, 1892. And thus another was
added to the list of devout souls who have gone out from our midst to the rest of the
paradise of God's elect.
As the year passed
by the work of the parish went on about as usual, marked by the ordinary changes and disappointments that
attend all human undertakings. The struggle to raise the funds necessary to maintain
the church's work for her Divine Master and the difficulty of harmonizing the conflicting
opinions and wishes of even the most faithful workers are never entirely absent from the
most united dand devout parish. All, however,
should be grateful, as the rector
certainly is, for the harmony and confidence which have for the most part prevailed.
In the march of
events, Christmas came, and with it the special services and
festivities which mark the
Christmas Day was
very cold and snowy, and many were kept from the church by the intense inclemency of the weather. The
church had been becomingly dressed with evergreens and flowers, and the choir of men and boys,
under the direction of Miss Taylor,
the organist, had carefully
prepared appropriate music; and the beauty of the decorations and the heartiness of the music counteracted to
some extent biting keenness of the cold. The congregation at the morning service was
fairly representative, and the worship hearty and devout. Eighteen communed.
festival for the children of the Sunday School was held on December 30,
the Friday after Christmas. It
was held this year for the first time, in the church instead of in the school room. This was done at the
suggestion of the assistant
Mr. Percy Whaley, who
wished to introduce some new features which he hoped would give additional interest to
the occasion and serve as an object lesson to the children. He and some of the young
men of the church, therefore, added to the church's decoration a Jacob's Ladder,
placed against the chancel arch and dressed in the Church colors. At 7.30 P. M. about 150
children, with their teachers and friends, assembled, completely filling the church.
The rector held a
short service, consisting of the Lord's Prayer, the Psalter, a lesson, a chant and a few collects. He then made an
address, in which, after he had told them of the blessed truth which Christmas calls to
mind, and of the cause of our rejoicing in the message brought by the angels, "Unto you is
born in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord," he turned to the Ladder
and explained to them the emblematic significance of the Church colors--white, red, green,
purple and black— brought so distinctly to their notice in the decoration of the successive
rungs of the ladder. This explanation much interested the children, and, as the rector
afterward learned from some of those present, also gave great satisfaction to many of the
older members of the congregation, as it made plain to them what they had not before
The vested choir
was present in the stalls and joined the children in singing the
Christmas hymns and carols,
and by their assistance added much to the heartiness of the music and to the jubilant nature of the festivities.
The address and
singing were not the only features of the festival. To complete the
pleasure of the little ones,
books and candies were distributed among them, and a small present was made to each member of the choir as a
kindly token that their volunteer efforts in aiding in the church music were really appreciated.
On the following
evening, Saturday, December 31, 1892, the Mission Sunday School of the parish on Duquesne Heights, held its
festival, in Grandview Hall. About 40 scholars and their teachers assembled and many of their
parents and friends also took part
festivities. The rector was present and made a short address. The
children sang their carols and
received presents of books, candy and fruit, and were specially
reminded of the great gift of
our Heavteny Father to His people in sending to them His Son to be the Saviour of the world. The great value of
these festivals lies in the fact that they give opportunity to impress upon the minds of the children
of the church the great truth that Christ was born to be the Saviour of the world. This is
sufficient reason to make church people cling to this great festival and teach their children to
The year 1893 was
marked by some events in the parish's history which deserve notice, as they show the changes brought by the
passage of time.
Lent brought to the
rector, as usual, the extra services of the season and the frequent
meetings of his confirmation
class. While he was busy preparing for the Bishop's visitation and all
were looking forward to a
joyous Easter, he and the congregation were startled by the sudden death
of Captain John S. McMillin, one of
the oldest and best known members of Grace Church.
morning, March 11, the rector was sitting in his study preparing for
the services of the following
Sunday, and about 11 o'clock Mr.
Alfred Marland, a vestryman, came in and informed him that "the Captain," as he was
familiarly called, had died suddenly that morning on Grandview Avenue. He was on his way to the city in
company with Miss Elizabeth Kenah
a little after 9 o'clock, and
when a few yards beyond Stanwix street he suddenly threw his hand to
his head with an exclamation
of pain, sank down upon the pavement and died in a few minutes. He was
picked up and carried into the
nearest house, but there was nothing to be done by the doctor and
friends who had gathered
around him except to convey his lifeless body to his home. Three days
later, Tuesday, March 14, at 2
P. M., the funeral service was held at the family residence, and his
remains were buried the same
afternoon in Allegheny Cemetery, the large gathering of friends and
acquaintances who attended
certifying to the respect with which he was regarded in the community
where he had resided for more
than forty years.
Captain McMillin was in
some respects a remarkable man. He was very tall and large limbed; he had a strong face, a thick-set beard,
and a large, well-formed head. His whole appearance was such as would attract attention in any
community. His intellectual faculties, too, were of a high order. His mind was keen and grasping,
and his memory vigorous and retentive; and although he had had but few advantages in
the way of education, yet he possessed much general information, and was a very
interesting talker. In his quaint, vigorous manner he could give a very picturesque account of his
experiences in life. He did not talk much of himself, but in the circle of his intimate friends the
details of his early life in Georgetown, and his later exploits on the river as captain of a steamboat,
sometimes formed entertaining and amusing subjects of conversation.
He had a blunt,
half-joking way of saying things that occasionally offended strangers;
but those who knew him well,
could see beneath all the goodness of heart and the depth of honesty in
the man, and therefore loved
and respected him for his real worth. His invention of the steam
used on all the river boats, and his
vigorous defence of his rights under his patent, gave him notoriety among steamboat men, while his
tall ungraceful form and his peculiarities of manner and speech made him one of the most familiar
figures in his neighborhood, and will serve to keep the memory of him fresh for a long time to come.
His connection with
Grace Church was close for about forty years, and during much of that
time he was one of its regular
communicants and steady supporters. He was a warm friend of the rector,
whom he always greeted with
kind words and received in his home with a cordial welcome. A fuller
sketch of his life will be found
elsewhere in this book.
Bishop Whitehead made his annual
visitation to the congregation on the evening of the 15th of March, the fifth Wednesday in Lent, and
administered the rite of confirmation. During this visit, accompanied, by the rector, he called on Mrs. Mary B. McMillin, the widow
of the late John S. McMillin,
who had been buried only the
day before, to condole with her and her family in their sudden bereavement.
The festival of Easter, which came this year on April 2, was invested
with more thanusual interest
for the rector, as it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of his
rectorship of Grace Church. The day was clear and cool, with a touch of
dawning spring; the congregation
which assembled for worship was large, devout and sympathetic; the
altar and font of the church
had been decorated by loving hands with beautiful plants and flowers; the music by the vested choir of
twelve boys and four men, under the direction of Miss
Taylor, was bright and appropriate to the high festival, and
everything seemed to combine
to make the day joyous and comforting to rector and people. The glad
thoughts of the risen Christ
which filled the hearts of all as they joined in the beautiful service
were intensified in the mind
of the rector by the thought of God's goodness to him through all
the twenty-five years in which he had
ministered to his people, and also by the additional thought that he still possessed their love
and confidence. At the same time, however, there was a sad strain in his reflections,
awakened by the many changes which these years had brought. Only a few of those to whom he had
first ministered were still left. One by one God had called His servants of this household
to their account, diminishing the number here in the Church Militant, but increasing the
Church's treasures in the land of the departed, swelling the number of the ''Blessed.''
"For these Thy saints who from their labor rest,
In the spring of this year the church building was painted on the
exterior, the funds for this purpose
having been raised chiefly by a lawn fete gotten up by Mrs. Thomas F. Ashford, Sr., with the assistance of the ladies of the
congregation. A little later a new roof was added, thus putting the exterior of the church in
The church was closed during July and
August of this year, owing to the absence of the rector, who went with his wife to the Columbian
Exposition in Chicago, and then on to Denver and through the Rocky Mountains to Salt Lake
City. This trip was the means of much pleasure and recreation to the
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, 0 Jesus, be forever blest."
and his wife, having given them the opportunity of seeing the
achievements and triumphs of
art and manufacture in that wonderful Exposition and the beauty and grandeur of nature in the plains and
While the rector
was on his vacation, as above stated, a congregational meeting was held in July, which was largely attended,
and at which the needs of the church were fully discussed. A fund of about $400 was
subscribed to pay off some debts and to make some needed improvements. Mr. Alfred Marland, the senior
warden, presided, and Mr. Melville L. Stout acted as
secretary; and under the leadership of Mr. John C. Shaler, Mr.
Kirk Q. Bigham and Mr. George A. Johnson, the promoters of the
meeting, successfully accomplished
the purpose for which it was called.
November 2, at 8 o'clock P. M., a meeting was held in the schoolroom of
the church for the purpose of
organizing a guild of the younger men and women of the congregation, whose aim should be to aid in
all church work, to promote mutual improvement among the members by the study of Church
history and literature, and to give opportunities of social intercourse and entertainment.
Public notice was
given, and at the time appointed about 30 persons attended the meeting.
The rector presided and gave
his assistance in forming the organization. The name "Coster Guild" was adopted as a compliment to the rector,
and considerable progress was made at this meeting in adopting a constitution and rules of
order for the government of the association. A second meeting was held on the following Thursday
(November 9), at the same hour and place, with the rector in the chair, when the organization
of the guild was fully completed and the following officers were elected: President, Percy C. Whaley; vice
presidents, Lottie Marland and Ardella Armstrong; secretary, Ernest
Marland; treasurer, Samuel Kenah.
The guild was
formed with the hope that it would give material aid in all plans for
promoting the interests of the
church, and that it would also take steps in the near future to raise
for building a guild house on the rear part of the church lot, a
necessary adjunct to the
successful prosecution of the guild's work.
The guild soon
after its organization appointed a committee, consisting of Ernest Marland and
Percy C. Whaley, to make arrangements for a course of lectures
to be delivered monthly in the
schoolroom of the church during the winter and spring of 1893–'94. They
provided the following course,
which was successfully given as arranged in the programme:
December 7, 1893, Rev. George Hodges, D. D.—
"Pittsburgh's industries "
January 10 1894, Rev. Marisson Byllesby__
The Rev. Mr. Byllesby was
unable to keep his appointment through illness, and the Rev.
E. A. Angel kindly took his place and delivered a very
entertaining lecture on "The
art of putting things."
February 7, 1894, Rev. William R. Mackay—
"The good old times."
March 6, 1894, Rev. John Crocker White, D. D.—
"The Scandinavian reformation."
April 11, 1894, Rev. Alfred Arundel—
" The coming man."
May 2, 1894, Rt. Rev. Cortlandt Whitehead, D. D.—
"Thomas a Becket."
June 6, 1894, Rev. Robert John Coster—
"The English Reformation."
We record here the grateful thanks of the rector and the guild to the
reverend gentlemen whose great
kindness rendered it possible for the congregation to enjoy the
entertainment and instruction
which these lectures afforded.
During the fall of
1893 the rector, wishing to awaken among his people an increased
interest in missions and to
inform them more fully in regard to what the Church is doing for the spread of the gospel at home and abroad,
delivered four addresses as follows:
Sunday evening, October 29, 1893—" ` Missionary work in Japan and
importance and its possibilities."
Sunday evening, November 5, 1893—"Missionary work in Africa; the extent
country; the vast heathen population; their probable influence upon
the future of the continent, and what is being done to protect them
and to convert them to Christianity."
Sunday evening, November 12, 1893—"Missions in our Western
territory; their importance
to our country and our church."
Sunday evening, November 19, 1893--"Missions among the negroes of
the South; their
importation to this country as slaves; the wrongs inflicted
upon them by slavery, and
our duty as Christian people to give them the Gospel and to
Christmas, as usual, brought with it special services and festivities,
which relieved somewhat the
dullness caused by the general depression in all branches of business. It came on Monday, a cold, damp and
disagreeable day. Service was held at 10 o'clock A. M., but only a small
congregation assembled numbering about 45. The church was prettily dressed with evergreens
and flowers, presenting a festal and cheering appearance in keeping with the
day. The vested choir was present and the service was beautifully and heartily
rendered. The Holy Communion was administered,
16 persons partaking.
After the service
the rector and choir assembled in the rear of the church and had a good photograph taken of the group before
hastening home to their Christmas dinner. The photographer, Mr. Heppenstall, also
took an excellent picture of the interior of the church, for distribution among the members
of the congregation.
28, Holy Innocents Day, the usual festival for the Sunday School was held, at 7:30 P. M. The attendance was
very large. The rector held a short service, made an address and read Phillips Brook's
"Christmas Carol." The children sang their carols and Messrs. William Groves, John Boyce and
Samuel Kenah rendered " We three Kings of Orient are," the choir and Sunday
school joining in the chorus.
Presents of books
and candy to the children and small sums of money to the boys of the choir brought the festivities to a
close and sent the young folks to their homes rejoicing.
On the next evening, Friday December 29, the festival of the Mission
School on Duquesne Heights was
held in Grandview Hall. The rector was present, held a short service and addressed the children.
About 40 children were present, who greatly enjoyed the festivities and varied the
entertainment by singing carols and giving recitations, under the direction of Mrs. E. C. Purkey and Miss Harriett Lowe.
The children gave
the rector great pleasure by presenting to him, as a token of their affection and good wishes, a beautiful
Japanese silk muffler for a Christmas gift. The year 1893 was a disastrous one
financially There was great depression in all branches of business and thousands of
persons were thrown out of work. The result was great suffering among the poor and
great privation even among well-to-do workmen. Contributions of money and provisions were
made by the churches on Mount Washington to relieve the suffering, and Grace Church
appointed a committee to assist in the distribution and took its part in alleviating the
distress. In the city large sums of money were subscribed and used to give work to the unemployed in
improving the city parks. The distress was, therefore, not an unmitigated evil, as it
called forth the liberality of the charitable for the relief of the destitute, and showed to this
incredulous age that mercy and kindness still exist and that human hearts are still moved by human
The Lenten season
of the spring of 1894 was used as a time for increased spiritual opportunities and obligations. Special
services were held on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 and Friday afternoons at 4 o'clock. The
rector met weekly a class of thirteen young people, and prepared them for confirmation.
On Palm Sunday
evening, March 18, the Bishop visited the parish and confirmed these candidates. The evening was fine, the
church crowded and the service altogether an interesting and helpful one, while many strangers had
the opportunity of hearing the Church's service and learning something of her reverent mode
New Hymnals and new Prayer Books, two of each, were placed in the
chancel, for use in public
worship, on February 18, 1894, the second Sunday in Lent. The money to purchase them was raised by Elizabeth Torrence and Mary A. Whaley,
two members of the Sunday
School. They are fine editions of the Revised Prayer Book and the new Hymnal set forth by the General Convention
of 1892, bound in black morocco, and they took the place of a set used since the
reopening of the church in 1869, which had been supplied by the Sunday School class of that
year taught by Mr. John C. Shaler.
These old ones are still in
good condition after twenty-six years of use, and have been laid away in the vestry room to be preserved as
mementos of the past.
The next Sunday was
Easter (March 25), a cold, cloudy day, threatening snow, and very disagreeable on account of the high wind
prevailing. Yet notwithstanding the disagreeable weather, the rector was greatly pleased to
see a large congregation assembled in church to join in the services of the great
festival. Loving hearts, as expressive of their joy, had tastefully dressed the chancel with flowers
and plants, whose beauty and fragrance
harmonized with the glad thoughts of
the hour, and the choir sharing the joy of the day, sang the Easter anthem and hymns with a
spirit which filled the worshipers with assurance of victory over sin and death; and the
words of Hymn 121:
"The strife is o'er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won,"
and those of Hymn 122,
"Jesus lives! thy terrors now
Can no longer, Death, appall us."
expressed the feelings of devout minds rejoicing in the risen Christ.
The rector chose as
the text for his sermon, "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become
the first-fruits of them that
slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." —I Corinthians xv, 20, 21,
and dwelt specially upon the truth that we have the
hope of immortal life only in the
risen Christ. The Holy Communion was administered, 40 members of the congregation receiving.
Some changes have taken place in the choir, which may be mentioned as a
not unimportant part of the
history of the church. Miss L.
Taylor resigned the charge of the organ and choir on October 1, 1893,
and was succeeded by Miss Shannon,
who was elected as organist, Mr. William Groves consenting to
act as choir director. She continued
to serve very acceptably until February 1, 1894, when she resigned and
was succeeded by Melville L. Stout, who then took
charge of the choir, resuming the position which he had formerly held for a number of
years. He still continues to hold the position giving his services as a freewill offering
toward the support of the public worship of the parish.
The choir at Easter
of this year (1894) we may ire record, was composed of four men and twelve boys, their names being the
Men-William Groves, Samuel
Kenah, John Boyce, Fred Johnson.
Boys—Fred Bowman, David
Nease, Frank Glaize, Harry Needham, Adam Heisler, Joseph
Needham, Herman Heisler, Edward
Schmidt, Christ. Heinrick, William Smith, Harry Hetling,
choirmaster—Melville L. Stout.
The passing of time is constantly bringing changes; men come and go,
and things never continue in
one stay. In these changes the parish has recently lost by removals
several very helpful families.
In the fall of the year 1893 Mrs.
Mary B. McMillin, widow of the late John S. McMillin,
closed her house on Grandview Avenue
and moved with her children to California, thus severing a family connection with the parish which
had existed for more than thirty years.
At Easter of the
year 1894 Dr. Orin W. Sadler
soId his residence on Grandview Avenue and moved his family to Penn Avenue, in the city,
terminating thereby a connection with the parish of nearly twelve years' standing. The doctor's
removal was a great loss to the parish, on account of his intelligent and sympathetic interest in all
its affairs, he having been vestryman most of the time he was in the parish and having been an active
promoter of all plans undertaken for futhering its interests.
Later in the year the
parish lost another family, that of Mr. William Groves, which had been for
some time closely identified with its work. Mr. Groves was for several
years a very efficient and helpful member of the
choir, and, owing to his genial manner and delicate
tact, was a sort of leader in all musical and social entertainments. At
the time of the removal of his family from the
parish he, as a vestryman and as the director of the choir,
was rendering valuable services to the church; and all regretted that
the exigencies of business required him to move
down to Fifth Avenue, and thus to sever his
connection with the parish.
Whitsunday came this year May 13, and was a clear, cool and beautiful
day. A congregation of a little over one hundred
assembled for worship. The rector preached and
administered the Holy Communion. The font and altar were beautifully
dressed with dogwood blossoms gathered in Mrs. Bigham's woods. In the
evening at 7:30 was held the usual annual service for the
Sunday School. The church was crowded with an interesting
audience. After evening prayer the rector made an address and
catechised the children of the Sunday School. He urged
upon the attention of the teachers and the congregation
the fact that the most important part of the work of the Sunday School
is that of teaching the children the
Catechism, the instruction which the Church has prepared to be
learned by all her little ones. The vested choir of four men and ten
boys rendered the music for the day very acceptably.
On June 6, at 8 P. M. the rector delivered the last lecture in the
course arranged for by the Coster
Guild. A good audience, nearly filling the schoolroom, assembled and
gave close attention. The rector chose as his subject,
"The English Reformation," and endeavored to clear the
subject of the popular misconceptions which cluster around it, and to
set forth its true significance, considered politically
and religiously. He also emphasized the fact that the Roman
Church is in a state of schism in England, inasmuch as the adherents of
the papacy withdrew from the Church of England
eleven years after Elizabeth came to the throne,
and then only at the instigation of the Bishop
Rome, who, with audacious presumption and injustice excommunicated
Queen Elizabeth pretended to
absolve her subjects from their allegience to their lawful sovereign,
and to bestow her kingdom upon
Phillip of Spain. The result was that the glaring injustice of the papacy toward Elizabeth and the futile
attempt of Phillip to conquer her kingdom fired the English mind with an enthusiastic loyality
for their sovereign and with a resolute determination to maintain their national independence
that soon made England the foremost nation of Europe. At the close of the lecture the ladies
served refreshments, and a pleasant hour was spent in social intercourse. This ended the course
of lectures, and the members of the Guild had good
reason to congratulate themselves upon
the success of their undertaking.
The last service
before the summer vacation was held on Sunday, July, 29. The rector
spent a part of his vacation
with his family at his summer cottage near Cresson, Pa, but most of the
time he was in the city busy
preparing to move the Bishop Bowman Institute from its old location on
corner of Penn Avenue and Fourth
Street to its new quarters in the East End, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Dithridge Street.
resumed on Sunday, September 2, but the rector was not present at the
first service, which was
conducted by a lay reader, as he went by the Bishop's appointment to
Crafton to institute the Rev. Frank Steed, as rector of
the Church of the Nativity.
During the vacation
the interior of the church was thoroughly renovated. The walls were
tastefully decorated and the
woodwork repainted. The work was done by Stulen & Stoughton, of the
city, under the supervision of
Mr. Stulen, who twenty-six
years before, in the summer of 1868, had done
the same work at the reopeningof the
church after extensive additions and improvements. The church building was now in
complete order, both on the exterior and the interior, and there could be no need of further repairs for
some time to come.
The services went
on during the fall about as usual. On the first of October the rector
took a severe cold,
for some days deprived him of his voice. In consequence he was unable
to officiate on Sunday,
October 7, and Mr. John C. Shaler
read the service morning and evening and prevented the disappointment of the
congregation. The hoarseness continued for several weeks, during which time Mr. Shaler assisted the
rector in the services by reading the lessons and sometimes the Litany also.
Mr. G. P. Whaley, our Sunday
School superintendent, resigned on the first of October (1894) and moved to Cumberland, Md. The rector and the
school regretted very much to lose so faithful and efficient a worker as Mr. Whaley. He had
charge of the school about two years and was successful
in his management. Luckily, Mr. John
C. Shaler was at this time in a position to resume charge of the Sunday School, and the work went on
without any serious interruption.
The annual meeting
of the Mite Society was held on Tuesday, December 4, at 8 P. M., at the
residence of Mrs. Harper, Grandview avenue
and Bertha street. The following were present besides the rector: Mrs. Harper, Mrs. Whittier, Mrs. W. L.
Bond, Mrs. Kenah, Miss Kenah, Mrs. J. C. Shaler, Miss
Lillie Harper and Miss Eliza Bigham. The treasurer's report
showed that the Mite Society had raised during the year for church purposes
the sum of $150.00 Of this they expended the following amounts:
Sunday School expenses ..... 30.00
The officers for the year were: President,
Mrs. Samuel Harper; vice president, Mrs. William L. Kenah; treasurer,
Miss Eliza Bigham; secretary, Mrs. John C. Shaler.
The Mite Society
has during the last twenty-five years been the most active and useful
agency of the parish in
carrying on its work. It was organized in 1868 and has continued its
work with greater or less
activity down to the present. The first officers of the society were
the following: President, Mrs.
Maria L. Bigham; treasurer, Mrs. Mary B. McMillin; secretary, Mrs. Mary
The first work that they engaged in was the raising of funds for
completing the improvements on
the church which had been begun in the fall of 1865, but were not
finished until the summer of
1869. They next assisted in raising the money to put stained-glass
windows in the church and they
furnished a part of the money to pay for the pipe organ. They have
twice carpeted the church, besides
supplying it with cushions; they have assisted in getting the funds to
keep the church insured, and
also they have helped to keep it in good repair. They raised the funds
for these purposes partly by
subscriptions among themselves and partly by fairs, held twice in halls
down in the city, but for the
most part by fairs and entertainments given in the church schoolroom.
occasion a Mother Goose entertainment, given under the management of Mrs. McMillin and Miss Ida Smith,
assisted by Mrs. James Boggs, Mrs.Joshua Goldthorp, Mrs. Samuel Harper,
Mr. E. H. Dermitt, Mr. Samuel Williams,
Mr. Albert Y. Smith, Mr. Edwin Smith, and some others of the young people, was remarkably successful, as
was also an entertainment of Living Statuary, given under the skilful directon of Mrs. M. Kirk. Besides this, it
ought to be mentioned, that the district visiting committees and the teachers of the
Sunday School have always been largely made up of members of the Mite Society.
It is a matter of
great regret that the books of the society are not at hand, that a full
list of the members might be
given and a list of the officers of the society at the different
periods of its history, and
also the amounts of money stated that they have raised in all these
years for the support of
The flight of time
brought again Christmas tide, with its usual services and festivities.
On the Sunday before
Christmas, 1894, after service, the rector made a visit to Mrs. Sarah S. Boggs, who was then very ill, having been confined to
her bed for some months and at the time rapidly failing.
He had prayers wlth her and spent some
time at her bedside. Although it was evident to all her friends, as it was also to herself, that she would
live but a short time, yet she was cheerful and self-forgetful, full of trust and hope, and anxious as ever
to spare her friends trouble.
The beauty of her character and the strength of her faith shone out
strikingly under her affliction. No murmur or word of complaint escaped her;
no impatience or fretfulness was apparent. If a cry of pain escaped her, she would apologize
for her weakness. She seemed to be waiting in peace the end that she knew was near. The rector
left her, saddened by the sight of her suffering and rapid failure, but thanking God for the
beauty of the patience and resignation of His faithful servant. For her there was "light in death's dark
Tuesday, December 25, 1894, dawned upon us cold and clear. As the
rector went to church,
accompanied by his son Charles, who was home from College for the
holidays, the streets, the
shop windows and the passing throngs all gave signs of the joyful
festival that was at hand.
The church had been appropriately
decorated by the Guild with plants and evergreens. The service began at 10 o'clock A. M., with about forty
persons in attendance. The vested choir of seven boys and four men were present and led the singing,
assisted by six young women, who sat in the front pew beside the choir. The service was very
hearty and the music good, making the rector regret that a larger congregation were not present to share in
the beautiful service. After the sermon the Holy Communion was administered, when 22 persons communed.
The Mission Sunday
School on Duquesne Heights held its Christmas festival on Thursday,
December 27, at 4 o'clock P.
M. The rector was present and the Bishop, by special request, came up
to meet the Sunday School. Mr. Shaler, the superintendent,
and his corps of assistants, Mrs.
W. L. Bond, Mrs. E. Purkey, Mrs.
W. P. Linhart, Mrs. Lowe, Miss Lowe and Miss Richard, were also
present directing matters. After a short service by the rector and a few words
by him to the children, the Bishop made an address to the Sunday School, setting forth the meaning of
Christmas and the cause of our rejoicing at this holy season, when we thank God for the " gift of His
surprised the Bishop, the rector and the superintendent by giving to
each, as a Christmas
a handsome silk umbrella. The rector acted as spokesman in conveying
their present to the Bishop
and the Bishop with a few facetious words handed their presents to the rector and the superintendent.
About 75 children
were present, and they sang the carols and Christmas hymns with great earnestness. About ten inches of snow
lay upon the ground and the weather was intensely cold, yet this neither kept the
children at home nor interfered with their enjoyment. The next day, Friday, December 28, Holy
Innocents Day, the parish Sunday School had its festival, at 7:30 P. M., in the schoolroom
of the church. The rector used a few collects as an opening, and then addressed the children on
the meaning of Christmas and Holy Innocents Day—love and sacrifice, the twin children
of faith and obedience. There were about 120 children present, and, with their teachers and
friends, they entered heartily into the spirit of the occasion. They sang their carols with great spirit,
aided by the choir, and, after having received presents of books and candy, at 9 o'clock P. M. they
went home rejoicing.
The new year 1895
opened cold and clear, and the weather for some weeks was intensely
severe; as severe, indeed, as
was ever felt in Pittsburgh. About February 7 the cold increased until
the thermometer fell 10°
below zero, causing great suffering. The water pipes and gas pipes
froze, leaving many people
without heat or water and adding greatly to the discomfort of the
Lent began this
year Wednesday, February 27, and with it the extra services provided
for the season and the work of
preparing a class for confirmation. Service was held every Wednesday at 7:30 P. M. and every Friday at 4 P. M.
during the season. The rector met the male members of his confirmation class on Wednesday evenings
after service, and the girls of the class on Friday afternoon, immediately after evening prayer.
feature in the instruction of the class was the fact that one of the
members, the daughter of Mr. E. H. Dermitt, living on
Stanton Avenue, East End, came regularly to Grace Church to attend
class. Her father and mother and older sister had all been confirmed
under the pastorship of the
rector (they having been at that time members of the parish), and their
daughter Lillian, wished also
to be instructed and presented for confirmation by the same rector, and
to be confirmed in the same
church; and the rector was much pleased that her wish could be
gratified. The vested
choir volunteered to attend the Wednesday evening Lenten services, and
they came regularly every
evening, and by their presence added much to the beauty and spirit of
the services and won the
thanks of the rector and congregation for their faithfulness.
afternoon services were attended regularly by the "Little Helpers," a
number of small girls of the
Sunday School, who sat in the choir and, under the direction of Miss Elizabeth Kenah, sang the hymns. They not only sang the hymns very
sweetly, but by their presence added a pleasing feature to the Lenten services, and learned the
lesson of aiding by personal service in maintaining and beautifying the worship of the Lord's house.
This society of
small girls was organized on May 28. 1894, under the direction and
government of Miss Kenah and Miss Ida Newell.
They are much interested in parish work, and by the assistance of their officers have given very material aid
during the past year in meeting certain pressing obligations of the parish. It may here be mentioned
that on Easter Sunday morning, while the rector was visiting the Sunday School, they gave him a pleasant
surprise. They handed him an envelope, and when he opened it, as they requested, he found therein the
sum of $50, a present from the society to the rector. It need hardly be said that the rector was not only
surprised by this act, but that he was deeply touched by the good will of his young friends which
prompted this kindness.
On Palm Sunday,
April 7, at 7:30 P. M., the Bishop made his annual visitation to the
parish, preached the sermon at
the service and administered the rite of confirmation to a class of 13
young people. Among those confirmed
was Miss Agnes McRae, a
the Bishop Bowman Institute, of which
school the rector is principal, and Miss Lillian Dermitt, a daughter
(as aforesaid) of Mr. E. H.
Dermitt, who was formerly a member of the congregation and a
vestryman, but now living in Stanton avenue, in the ,East End. The
church was crowded with people, and there was among them a
large number of children, a fact which attracted the attention
of the Bishop. There is usually a goodly number of children present at
the services, the rector having constantly made it a rule
to encourage the children to attend public worship. He often
tells them in the Sunday School that if on any day they cannot attend
both Sunday School and service, he would greatly prefer
that they attend the service. A habit thus formed will go
with them through life. The practice of making attendance at Sunday
School a substitute for public worship is, we fear,
likely to form a generation of non-churchgoers; consequently,
parents and the clergy should use all their influence to discourage the
The festival of Easter
came this year (1895) on April the 14th, and with it the twenty-seventh
anniversary of the rector's connection with
the parish. The solemn joy of the high festival was, therefore,
intensified in the rector's mind by thoughts of past service and by
gratitude for present mercies. The day was cool and cloudy, but a
large congregation gathered to join in the worship. The
chancel had been very tastefully dressed by the members of the Coster
Guild with plants and flowers, which added much to the festal
appearance of the church and highly gratified the congregation
and the rector, who regard this as a fitting method of symbolizing the
great truth of the Resurrection which the Church on this
day commemorates, and as a lively expression of the gladness
which at this time fills the hearts of the faithful.
The vested choir of 16 boys and 4 men had made careful preparation for
the service, and rendered the music
with great credit to themselves and great appropriateness to the
occasion. The choir remained and assisted in the Communion
service at which 36 persons communed.
The Easter tide rejoicings of the congregation were this year tinged
with an undertone of sadness,
owing to the very recent death of two aged and much respected members
of the parish.
Mrs. Sarah Shaw Boggs, relict of the
late Samuel Boggs, of Boggs avenue, after a long and painful illness, was laid to rest on
Saturday, March 23, in Allegheny Cemetery, beside the remains of her husband. For more than
two years she was a great sufferer, her strong constitution steadily yielding to
encroaching disease, and yet she bore her suffering with great patience and resignation, seeming in
her self-forgetfulness anxious to suppress signs of her suffering, lest she should give her
friends trouble. The loving care and watchful attention of her devoted sisters, Miss Emma Bennet and Mrs. Harrison,
did all that human aid could do for her relief, but nothing could stay the
progress of her disease. At last, on Thursday, March 21, death came to her relief, and she passed away in
faith and hope.
Mrs. Boggs was a woman of noble
character, generous in disposition and faithful in every relation in life. She was born of church parents,
was reared under the teachings of the Church, and was all her life a devout and faithful communicant,
loving her church and taking her share in all the efforts made to promote its interests in the
community. In her will she left the sum of $100 to Grace Church as an addition to its Endowment Fund. (See
obituary under the list of deaths.)
Two weeks later,
April 6, 1895, another noble woman, Mrs. Adeline Matilda Whittier, widow of
the late Isaac Whittier, and mother of Mrs.
Samuel Harper, was taken from our midst, in the 83d year of her
age. She and her husband were
both born in New Hampshire, but they moved to Pittsburgh in 1836 and spent here the rest of their lives. They
were for many years members of St. Andrew's Church, Ninth street, where they regularly attended as
long as Mr. Whittier lived. With increasing age Mrs. Whittier found the walk from Grandview avenue to
Ninth street too great for her, and she began to attend Grace Church, and for the last twelve years
of her life was a regular communicant and an active sharer in all the work of the parish.
Her interest in church affairs, and her regularity in attending public
worship were remarkable for
one of her age, as she rarely let anything except sickness or extremely
inclement weather keep her
from the Sunday morning service and the monthly communion.
Mrs. Whittier indeed was a woman
of sterling worth, faithful and reliable in all things. So true was she in speech and action, so sincere in
her friendships, that those who once knew her and trusted her, remained her firm friends to
the end. The high respect which she had won in this
community was markedly shown on her
eightieth birthday (Friday, September 16, 1892), when people came to her home on Mount
Washington, from all parts of the city to pay their respects and to offer their congratulations. Those
who saw her on that day will remember how bright and cheerful she was. The pleasing cordiality,
the frank good nature and the welcoming smile which had marked her earlier days were still
present in the woman of eighty years. It was a great pleasure to the rector on that day to be among those
who could claim her friendship and confidence and offer to her his heartiest congratulations.
Her presence in her
family was a benediction to the household. Surrounded by her
grandchildren, who lavished
upon her the affection and attention which youth feels for venerated
age, she grew old, cheered by
the smiles and love of those dear to her. There is a very interesting
picture in the possession of
her daughter, Mrs. Harper,
which includes four generations of her family—the aged Mrs. Whittier; her daughter, Mrs.
Samuel Harper; her grand-daughter, Mrs. Stanley Neely, and her
great-grandson, Master Robert Bonner Neely.
Mrs. Whittier retained to a
marked degree her interest in life and her cheerfulness and contentment
in her declining days. The
secret of this is to be found in the fact that she had a clear and
abiding faith in God as her
Heavenly Father. She trusted in Him through Christ, and in that trust
found rest and peace. "Blessed
are all they who trust in the Lord."
IMPROVEMENTS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
PAVING THE STREETS.
For some years after the present rector began to officiate in Grace
Church there were no paved streets
on Mount Washington, and in consequence the streets were often almost
impassable in winter
spring, owing to the depth of the mud. The rector several times in the
spring of the year saw in
those days of no pavements wagons loaded with furniture standing on
Grandview avenue, sunk to the
hubs in the mud, and abandoned by driver and team.
avenue was paved, in the summer and fall of 1891, with angular blocks,
from the Monongahela Incline
Plane to the Duquesne Incline Plane, a distance of about a mile, and
the sidewalks were laid in
broad flagstones, the work being finished the first of November. This
running along the bluff at an
elevation of about 400 feet above the river, makes one of the finest promenades in the city.
The improvement in
Grandview avenue was soon followed by the paving of other
streets. In the spring of 1892
Bertha street was paved, the work being finished May 25; and in the
fall of 1894 Sycamore street
was sewered and paved, the work being finished January 18, 1895.
The church lot is
situated on the southeast corner of these two streets, Bertha and
Sycamore, fronting on the
first 80 feet and extending along the second 200 feet.
Grading and paving ................. $500.00
Flagstone sidewalk, etc .............. 100.00
Grading and paving .................
Flagstone sidewalk ..................
Grading church lot
Total........................... $2, 000.00
The sum of $2,000 was a very heavy tax on the
parish, which is financially weak;
but the work, in every way desirable, was a great improvement to the church property, and indeed to
During the year
1896 the life of the parish went on about as usual. Its financial obligations were met with some difficulty,
but every part of the parish work was continued with a fair amount of success.
The service on Whitsunday for the Sunday School was unusually interesting.
About 200 children, with their teachers and friends, were present, completely
filling the church. At 3 P. M. a short service was said by the rector, and several hymns
were very spiritedly sung by the children assisted by the choir, and next followed
the catechising of the school, when the rector and superintendent were greatly
encouraged by the ready and intelligent answers of the children.
The aim of the
teaching in our Sunday School should always be to make the children of the parish intelligent
churchmen and churchwomen, and this we think can best be done by a thorough study of the
Catechism and the Prayer Book; hence the constant study of the one and the
systematic use of the other has always been the practice in Grace Church Sunday School.
The opening of the
year 1897 was a sad time in the parish, as it brought with it the loss of its most active and most useful
layman. John C. Shaler, a
vestryman and warden of the
parish, a man in the
of life, who was full of plans for furthering the Master's work on
a short illness, on Friday, January 22, 1897. He was, moreover, superintendent of
School, and also the friend and adviser of the rector. He had been so
identified with the life and work of the parish for more than forty years that it
it would be impossible to fill the place left vacant by his death. When the
School met on
the first Sunday after his death we could not proceed with the
as pupils and teachers were in tears, and when the rector attempted to
children his feelings overcame him, and he was forced to desist.
Archdeacon Cole had
come up to Grace Church that Sunday morning to speak to the
children and the
congregation on diocesan missions, but he saw the inopportuneness of the
wisely deferred the matter. He, however, remained at the service and
greatly to the relief of the rector under the trying circumstances. The funeral
service was held
in the church Sunday afternoon, and the interment took place in the
Cemetery, his fellow-vestrymen and friends bearing his remains to their last last
place, while the snow, which covered the fields and the grave with spotless white,
like to believe, the purity and blamelessness of his irreproachable life. Mr. Shaler's zeal in Church work
and his devout, consistent life made him a typical churchman, whose
influence was felt in the whole parish.
There was urgent
need to find at once some one to take his place as superintendent of
the Sunday School. After some
hesitation on his part, Harry W.
Neely was induced to accept the position, and, loyally assisted by rector
and teachers, he successfully kept up the work.
At Easter of
this year (1897) an altar cross, a pair of altar vases and an altar
rack, all of brass, were
presented to the church as memorials of Mr. Shaler, thus perpetuating
his memory and also
beautifying the church which he loved so much, and for which he labored
in love so long and faithfully.
THE RECTOR'S THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY
An event of unusual interest in the history of the parish which marked
the year 1898
was the rector's
completion of his thirtieth year of service. He began his rectorship April 5, 1868, and
time has continued as rector of Grace Church. Indeed, it may be here
mentioned that the rector has never had any other parish; that the
short period of
his diaconate, spent at the college of St. James, and the first two years
priesthood,were given chiefly to educational work, he only officiating for
clergymen as occasion offered. Practically, therefore, his whole ministry
given to Grace Church. The vestry and congregation wished to mark
anniversary with some special ceremonies; consequently arrangements were
made for an
anniversary service on Easter Sunday evening, April 10 and
invitations were sent
out for a reception to the rector and his wife for the following
At the Sunday evening service a large congregation
was present and the rector delivered
a special discourse, taking as his text Psalm xxviii, 8: "The Lord is
my strength, and He is the
wholesome defense of His anointed." After a brief exposition of the teaching and the encouragement for God's
people embodied in the text, the rector gave a resume of the facts of his rectorship
recorded in this history.
Omitting much of
the historical portions, a few extracts may here be given, in which he
years that I have been with you I have tried to teach you these three
things, faith in God, trust in
His providence, and submission to His will; for in these things are to
be attained the beauty of
Christian living and the perfection of Christian character. In a heart
where these three principles
of religion are grounded there will be no skepticism to deaden its
devotion; no despondency to
paralyze its powers; no spiritual pride to dwarf its affections; but
faith will reign, and hope
prevail, and love will bloom, and the peaceful soul will harmoniously
develop into the likeness of
Christ, and thus become fit for the Master's use and presence when called from earth
mansions of rest. If a goodly number of our people have attained this
in the past;
if a fair proportion of those who are serving our Lord here together in the present shall
blessedness of God's faithful people, then my labor among you and our
for the glory of God's kingdom will not have been in vain.
"Ten years ago
occurred the twentieth anniversary of my rectorship, and at the reception then tendered to the rector and
his wife the tokens of affection and esteem received by both have since remained the
most treasured recollection in the history of his pastorate. The presence on that
occasion of so many friends, the warm greetings given, the kind words spoken, and the
general expressions of love and confidence can never be forgotten.
"As the years have
gone by the life of the parish has flowed on with the usual
fluctuations and frictions
incident to all affairs conducted by men and women subject to the
prejudices and infirmities of
human nature. Your rector, however, thinks himself fortunate that his
work has been among people who
gave him their love and confidence. That he has been permitted to work here among you for thirty years,
retaining that love and confidence, is a mark of Divine favor for which he is deeply
"But year after
year change has been constantly going on in the personnel of the congregation by deaths, by removals, by
additions; and yet a few of the older members who first welcomed your rector to the parish are
still left to encourage him with their confidence and sympathy. But, alas! they are few. One
after another of the earlier well-known forms and faces have disappeared. When your rector now
casts his eye over the congregation he sees here and there the place of an old friend vacant or
filled by another. A glance down the pages of the Parish Register will show how many of the former
well-known members of the parish have been called away. It will interest you, I know, to
recall a few of them:
"Capt. Thomas H. Golding, his
mother, his wife and his daughter Isabelle—a whole family gone. John
Pare and his wife—both living beyond the
age of man. George T. Lowen
and his wife, aged and true. Mrs.
Sarah Reese, mother of Mrs. Mary E.
full of faith and hope at the age of 87. Mrs. Maria Adams,
dying at the age of 70 and leaving us a legacy of fifty dollars, the
beginning of our
fund. Mrs. Ruth Reed, wife of
Samuel G. Reed, a gentle, beautiful character. Miss
Margaret Goehring, a great sufferer, patient to
followed a few years later by her
father and mother. Squire Edward
Bratt and his wife, both long faithful and devout worshipers here among us,
dying full of
faith in a ripe old age. Mr. and
Mrs. Thomas J. Bigham, the
founders of the parish and its supporters to the end, dying in the
faith and leaving behind them
this church to perpetuate their memory. Mrs. Sarah Goldthorp and her daughter, Mary
Goldthorp Steele, both faithful workers in the
Mite Society, Thomas Jackson,
long a member
of St. Andrew's Church, but for many
years a faithful teacher in our Sunday School, dying in peace, aged 81 years.
Edith N. Ferguson, a
devout soul, now resting in paradise.
Mrs. Elizabeth A. Smithson,
a great sufferer, who now sleeps in peace. Capt. John S.
for more than thirty years a member of this church, and whose tragic
death you will remember, a man
of marked traits of character and great goodness of heart. For him
"Quick did end the battle sore;
Now his pilgrimage is o'er.
Grant him peace forevermore,
We beseech Thee, Jesus."
Mrs. Sarah A. Boggs, a
noble Christian woman. Mrs.
Adaline M. Whittier, a mother in Israel, gentle and faithful, falling asleep
aged 83 years.
John C. Shaler, Jr., a
devout, loyal churchman, one of the
rector's most faithful helpers up to the day of his death. Mrs. Mary Thompson, daughter of
Bratt, patient in suffering, faithful unto to death.
"When the toil is over,
Then come rest and peace."
"For these Thy saints who from their labor rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, 0 Jesus, be forever blessed.
"Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou in the darkness drear the one true Light.
"May we, thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win, with them, the victor's crown of gold."
"Here figures might be added giving the baptisms, confirmations,
burials, the services, the
offerings of the thirty years that we have officiated for you, but
numbers can never measure
spiritual things, nor estimate the value of the Church's ministrations
to her people; therefore
forbear, and bid you turn your thoughts for a few moments in another
do in God's service must be done in Christ's name, and in reliance upon
'Paul may plant and
Apollos water, but God giveth the increase.' If we forget this, and think that we ourselves
can make the
Church grow and that we can bring souls to Christ, our work will surely come to
nought. It is
Christ alone that can give effect to our services, when they are done in humble
faith in Him
and with earnest prayer for His blessing. Whatever, then, we have done
in the thirty
years just ended for the promotion of our own spiritual welfare and for the
Christ's kingdom in the world, 'to God's Holy Name be the praise.'
"For all that might
have been done in our midst for Christ and His people, but has not been
done in consequence of our
lack of faith and zeal, we pray `Lord pardon our deficiencies.'
people stand together in the matter of accountability. When in the last
day I shall be called
the Just Judge to give an account for the souls that were intrusted to
my care, woe is
me if I have
been unfaithful. When you, his people, shall stand before Him to give
of your stewardship, if you have been
unfaithful to your Lord and neglectful of your sacred privileges as members of His Church, your
condemnation will be equally certain.
"May God in His
mercy strengthen us both with might to rise to our high calling of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord, that
we may be true and faithful
the end, and at last hear those life-giving words `Well done, good and
into the joy of thy Lord. "'
On the following
Thursday, April 14, at 8 P. M., a large reception was held in the schoolroom of the church in honor of the
rector and his wife. The Bishop was present and made a felicitous address of
congratulation. The rector also made an address, speaking of-his labor in the parish and of
the changes that the years had brought to him and his work. Some of the city clergy were
present to offer their congratulatious and good wishes, as were also the Rev. Dr. McClelland, pastor of
the Mount Washington Presbyterian
Church; the Rev. Mr. Graham,
pastor of the Mount Washington Methodist Episcopal Church; the Rev. P. S. Jennings, pastor of
the Mount Pisgah Presbyterian Church
,and Father O'Connor,
rector of St. Mary's of the Mount.
The evening was
passed in pleasant social intercourse, and Dr. and Mrs. Coster were cheered by many expressions of confidence
and good will spoken by parishoners and friends.
THE CHURCH LIGHTED WITH GAS
During the summer vacation the vestry contracted for putting up gas
fixtures for lighting the
church. The work was completed in time for the opening of the services
in the beginning of September,
and gaslight was used for the first time on Sunday evening, September
11, 1898. The
very beautiful and light the church brilliantly, making a strong
contrast with the dim oil
lamps which had been used for so many years—indeed ever since the
church was built, in 1853.
Grace Church is indebted to the generosity of the rector and vestry of
Trinity Church for these
beautiful fixtures. They were formerly used in lighting Trinity, but
were discarded a few years
ago, when electricity was introduced there, and at the suggestion of Mr. William Halpin they were presented to Grace
now that they have been refinished and properly put up, they give abundant light
and are a
beautiful ornament to the church.
THE DEATH OF THOMAS F. ASHFORD, SR.
At the opening of the year 1899 the parish suffered the loss of one of
its very active vestrymen, Thomas F.
Ashford, Sr., who died
of pnuemonia Sunday, January 15, after a brief illness.
Mr. Ashford moved to Mount
Washington in 1883, and at once he and his family became members of Grace Church. He was a vestryman
for nine years and was senior warden at the time of his death. He was a liberal man
and contributed freely to all the needs of the parish. English by birth and education, he
had a strong love for the church of his childhood and was a regular attendant upon public
worship. He was a genial, generous man, and his goodness and generosity won for him many
During the summer
of this year (1899) it was found necessary to put many repairs upon the church. It is a frame structure, built
in 1853, and consequently, from the wear and tear of time, it needed a thorough overhauling. The
frame, on examination, was found to be sound, so the whole exterior was newly
weather-boarded and painted, and the interior was painted and varnished and the walls tastefully
frescoed. When, therefore, the church was again opened, in in September, for divine
service, it was in complete order and presented a very neat and pleasing appearance. The work cost
a little over a thousand dollars, but it was money well spent, as the building was thereby
made almost like a new church and will last at least
twenty years more.
The year 1900 in
its general features was much like the preceding ones. The rector's confirmation class, which was composed of
five adults and seven young people, was a very interesting one. The meetings for
instruction were held during Lent, at which careful preparation was made by the class for the
important step about to be taken, and when the Bishop made his visitation great interest
was manifested in the service. The church was filled with a sympathetic congregation. The choir
of boys and men furnished excellent music for the occasion; the Bishop preached a sermon,
full of wholesome instruction, from the text, Eph. vi, 1, 2, and all felt at the close of service that the day
had been one full of inspiration and hope.
A few weeks
later Easter came, bringing its beautiful service and its comforting hopes of immortality. Flowers
and music and
the lessons of the day beautified the worship and raised the
thoughts of the
worshipers to a high and fervid pitch, peace and hope being its
The number of
singers in the choir had not been as large as usual for some time, as great difficulty was met in securing
boys with good voices. This difficulty at length made a change in the composition of the
choir necessary to keep up its efficiency. If boys enough could not be secured, young
women, it was known, could be obtained. Therefore the rector and vestry invited the
women of the congregation to aid in the singing, and at once a goodly number
offered their services, and in the early summer the choir master, Henry W. Clark, began to train
them. They rehearsed with the men
and boys for some weeks, and at
length, on the twentieth Sunday after Trinity, October 28, 1900, twelve of them, vested in
caps and cottas, appeared with the choir and took seats in the stalls. It was seen
at once that the problem of securing singers was solved, and that the addition of female
voices had greatly improved the quality of the music. The fact of this change only is
mentioned here; the personnel of the enlarged choir will be found recorded in another
part of this work.
Under the skillful
training of Mr. Clark,
this choir continued to improve, and by the aid of their good music we had on the following
Easter (1901) one of the most beautiful and inspiring services ever held in Grace
Church. The day was mild and pleasant; the church was beautifully decorated with plants and
Easter lilies; the congregation was large and devout, and the music exceptionally good.
And another fact worthy of mention is that at the morning service seventy-three persons
communed, the largest number in the history of the church ever present at one communion.
The year 1902 was somewhat remarkable
in the history of Grace Church. One thing requiring mention was the large number of
persons who removed
the parish. There seemed, indeed, to be a sort of exodus from our
midst. In his report to the
Convention the rector had to give a loss of twenty-five communicants by
the year. This
was, indeed, a serious loss to the parish, as some of the twenty-five were vestrymen and other
The Easter-tide of
this year was also attended by some unusual events, not excepting the service of Easter Day, which was one of
peculiar interest. The chancel was beautifully dressed with plants and flowers, the church
was filled with people, and the music rendered by the choir was very hearty and
appropriate to the day. The rector's sermon bore upon the importance of the Resurrection in Christian
doctrine and the chief results flowing therefrom to God's people. After the sermon the
offerings of the people were received, amounting to $75, and then the rector proceeded with the
communion service, and just as he reached the "comfortable words," and turned facing the
congregation, a violent storm of wind and rain from the southwest burst forth, striking
the church with such force that it rocked and cracked as though it would blow over. The whole
congregation rose from their knees, some starting out hurriedly through the front door, others
through the vestry room to the basement, while others, pallid, stood still in expectancy. Half a
dozen persons came up to the rector at the chancel rail, and among them little Helen Boyce, who,
crying from fright, seized him by the arm. He quieted her by saying, "Do not be afraid; there is
no danger." Meanwhile the church had become very dark, which increased the congregation's
fears. The sexton, Albert McKain,
appeared at the vestry-room
door, and at the rector's direction lighted up the church. This
relieved the gloom, and the
violence of the storm by this time having somewhat abated, the danger
seemed to be over. The
congregation, therefore, quietly taking their places, the rector
resumed the communion service, and
proceeded reverently to the end. The interruption, however, had
disturbed the tone of joyous devotion
and marred to some extent the beauty and satisfaction of our Easter
We found, after the service was over, that the storm had broken off the
top of a Lombardy poplar
standing in front of the church, and had blown the front gables out of
the brick schoolhouse
opposite corner of the street. We all felt grateful that we had escaped
serious damage to the
church and without injury to any of the members of the congregation. The next day we
great damage had been done by the storm in
many parts of the city. A Presbyterian
church in Knoxville had its chimney blown over on the roof, breaking through upon the
congregation, injuring about forty persons, Also a small church in Allegheny had been unroofed, the
debris injuring severely the clergyman and several other members of the
congregation. Gratiae Deo ut nos
evening, March 31, 1902, a congregational meeting was held to hear the treasurer's report and to elect a vestry
for the ensuing year. The night was very cold and snow was falling, consequently only ten
persons assembled, and after hearing the report and discussing somewhat informally the
expediency of celebrating the church's semi-centennial, the meeting adjourned to
Monday evening, April 7, postponing the election
of a vestry to that time.
In the meantime, on
Saturday, about 9:30 P. M., Oliver
Halpin Stinson, a vestryman and the junior warden of the church, was run over
by a street car on Carson street, at the foot of the Castle Shannon Incline, while on his way
home, and had died from his injuries at the South Side Hospital early next morning, Sunday,
April 6. All the congregation were greatly shocked by the sad event.
When the adjourned
congregational meeting met on Monday evening, the 7th, there were three
vacancies in the last vestry,
caused, one by the death of Mr.
Stinson, one by the removal of Joseph
Reeves to Philadelphia, and the third by the removal of Harry W. Neely from the parish to the East End during the previous week.
Besides these three vacancies there was virtually a fourth, for David R. Torrence, a vestryman,
had moved from the parish
street a year before, and being present at the meeting suggested that
it would be
better to elect
some one living in the parish in his place. The election resulted in
the choice of
vestrymen: George H. Baker,
Thomas J. Bigham, John E. Boyce, George
E. Brush, William Groves, Edward C. Purkey and Melville L. Stout.
Thomas J. Bigham was
elected senior warden and the rector appointed George H. Baker junior warden.
The matter of the
semi-centennial of Grace Church being called up, the rector informed
the meeting that the parish
was organized in the fall of 1851, and that a Sunday School was held, with an occasional service, in the
old frame schoolhouse on the corner of Stanwix and Sycamore streets (then being torn down for
the erection of dwellings on the site);that the charter of incorporation of the parish was
obtained in April, 1852, and that the church was finished and first opened for divine
service in the fall of 1853. All seemed to consider the opening of the church as the real beginning
of the parish, and the matter was consequently laid over until the meeting on Easter
Monday, 1903, at which time plans were to be formed for the celebration of the church's
The death of Oliver H. Stinson, referred to
above, was a great loss to the parish. He was for many years a vestryman and warden; he had
an interesting family; he had many devoted friends; he was successful in business, and
therefore had about him all things to make life desirable. In the address at his funeral
the rector said " It was under these favorable circumstances that he was called away, and,
indeed, so painful was the manner of his death and so unexpected was the summons that we
can as yet hardly realize that his life is ended, that his position among us is vacant
forever. We are indeed forcibly reminded by this sad death of the chances and uncertainties of
human life. No one knows what an hour may bring forth. It is true wisdom, then,
always to live as those who await their Lord. It is true happiness to believe that God is infinitely
wise and good and that He orders all things in mercy for the final blessedness of His
faithful servants and for the perpetuation of His eternal glory.
The soul that under all things can
look up and say, "It is the Lord; He knoweth best," will feel secure;
will bow in submission and find peace and comfort even in death itself.
PART II -- CLICK HERE