Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

duties pertaining to his holy office, secured the love and confidence of his people.


The Rev. George K. Warner was elected rector of the parislı in January, 1856, and took charge of the congregation on the 10th of March following. St. John's parish was established upon the freeseat system, which has been found to work satisfactorily. The rector's salary is provided for by the voluntary subscription of the members. The incidental expenses, &c. are met by weekly collections at the Sunday morning services. The parish has a commodious and convenient dwelling-house, erected in 1855 expressly for the use of the rector.

St. John's parish has at this time (February, 1857) eighty-six communicants. The Sunday-school connected with the parish is in a flourishing condition, and, under the judicious care and management of the rector, proves an important auxiliary to the Church.

I must add to the above, for the encouragement of others to go and do likewise, that the rectory mentioned above, and which cost three or four thousand dollars, was at the sole expense of a very few zealous individuals. May they be rewarded for it by always having a faithful minister of God to occupy it!


The first missionary movement in our diocese was in behalf of Western Virginia, by the association in the valley, composed of the ministers in Frederick, Jefferson, and Berkeley, in the early part of the ministry of the Rev. Benjamin Allen, Mr. Bryan, B. B. Smith, Enoch Lowe, and the author of these pages. The first missionary sent into Western Virginia was the Rev. Wm. F. Lee, and the first point to which he went was Clarksburg and the next Morgantown. In each of these places he preached repeatedly and acceptably and did his duty faithfully as a pioneer and explorer. He was soon followed by his relative,—the Rev. Charles Henry Page, —who imitated his example in all things. The first effort of a more permanent character was made by the Rev. Mr. Ward. In a letter from a friend in Clarksburg, he thus speaks of this effort:—“Mr. Ward came here in the fall of 1834 or 1835. At first he was the inmate of the family of Mr. Trapnall, a firm friend of the Church. Mr. Trapnall dying, Mr. Ward abode the remainder of his time with Mr. Richard Despard, a devoted friend of the Church from the old country. I have been informed that Mr. Ward succeeded in awaken

ing considerable interest among the friends of the Church,—that his Sabbath-school was flourishing, and his public services well sus. tained.” The same friend continues :-"Mr. Ward was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. McMechin, about the year 1810. He had previously been in the Methodist ministry. You are well acquainted with the course pursued by him and with the unhappy termination of his ministry.” The foregoing remark requires explanation. Other records of the Church have already made it, but, for the benefit of young ministers, it deserves a place here. Mr. McMechin, though of an ancient Episcopal family, had united himself with the Methodist communion and ministry. During the few years of his continuance in this Society he was much esteemed. He then entered the Episcopal Church and ministry. After a short stay in Parkersburg, he commenced the duties of the latter under very favourable auspices in Clarksburg. At his own cost he provided a house which should answer the double purpose of school-room and place of worship. In this place he preached on the Sabbath and instructed young females during the week, -deriving his support chiefly if not entirely from the latter. His pulpit-addresses were very acceptable. Numbers attended his ministry. His sermons seemed about to be blessed in the conversion of many, and there was a reasonable probability that most if not all of them would be united to our Church. In several successive letters he communicated to me the joyful intelligence, and the confident expectation of a large class of candidates for Confirmation when I should next visit Clarksburg, which was to be after a few months. Before that time arrived, however, I perceived a change in the tone of his letters. He was less confident that many would be ready for Confirmation,—was afraid that he would be disappointed in a number who had promised well. At length my visit was made. On my arrival, he gave me the following honest account of the whole matter. After having for some time carnestly preached the Gospel of salvation to those who attended his ministry, and having reason to believe that a number were prepared to make an open profession of religion, and to do it after our manner and in connection with our Church, he determined to make the latter sure by a series of discourses on the ministry, the Sacraments, the Liturgy, and the rite of Confirmation. I do not know what particular position he took in regard to these, but the effect, he told me, was to reduce his congregation from Sabbath to Sabbath, so that, by the time the series was over, a mere handful were left him. Meanwhile the pulpits of other denominations were denouncing


him and the Church, and tracts and books against Confirmation and our peculiarities were gotten up and put in circulation through the place, so that when I reached Clarksburg there was but one individual who would dare to appear for Confirmation, and sickness prevented the attendance of that one. Nor did the calamity end here; for, not long after, Mr. McMechin himself returned, under the influence of excited feelings, to the Methodist communion as a lay member. It is, however, proper to state that when that excitement passed away he resumed his place in the bosom of the Episco pal Church, but, of course, only as a lay member,—having been displaced from our ministry. Let young ministers in new parishes learn a lesson from the foregoing statement, and old ones even in old parishes not despise it.

The letter of my correspondent continues by saying that “after Mr. McMechin abandoned the ministry, the Rev. Thomas Smith, of Parkersburg, gave the little flock such pastoral care as his distant residence allowed. He called the friends of the Church

. together, proposed and caused to be adopted articles of confederation, and had a regular vestry elected. Until the services of a regular minister were secured, he paid them several visits, --riding on horseback the distance of eighty-five miles to supply their spiritual necessities. The Rev. Mr. Kinsolving was the next settled minister. He officiated regularly at Clarksburg and Weston, and occasionally at Morgantown. He remained about a year, and was not only acceptable to his own people, but popular with all classes. The Rev. Mr. Tompkins succeeded him at Weston, and preached occasionally at Clarksburg,-perhaps once a month,—as well as at other places.” To this communication I add that in the year 1852, the Rev. Robert A. Castleman went to Clarksburg, and was soon after joined by the Rev. James Page, who, between them, supplied Clarksburg, Weston, Fairmont, Morgantown, and Buchanon, for one year, when the former confined his services to Clarksburg and Fairmont, and the latter to Weston and Buchanon. During the residence of the Rev. Mr. Tompkins in Weston, and chiefly by his exertions, an Episcopal church has been built in that place. During the ministry of Mr. Castleman, one has been built in Clarksburg and one purchased and repaired at Fairmont. To his efforts in Clarksburg and his solicitation abroad, we are indebted for the excellent house now standing in Clarksburg. A few zealous friends in Fairmont are entitled to praise for what they have done. Although our efforts have thus far failed in Morgantown, I cannot pass it by without inention of the pleasant visits made to that place, and the hospitable reception given me by those worthy members of our Church,-Mr. John Rogers and Mr. Guy Allen. Could the zeal and liberality of two individuals have sufficed for the establishment of the Episcopal Church in Morgantown, theirs would have done it. I have nothing more to add but that Mr. Castleman is about to leave Clarksburg, and the Rev. Mr. Smyth, a Deacon, is officiating in Weston.


Churches in Kanawha, Ravenswood, Parkersburg and the

neighbourhood, New Martinsville, and Moundsville.

STILL pursuing the order in which efforts have been made for the establishment of the Episcopal Church in Western Virginia, we proceed to speak of the churches in Kanawha. The Rev. Messrs. Lee and Page, our first missionaries, extended their visits to Kanawha, and by the way of Point Pleasant ascended the Ohio, stopping at Parkersburg. The visit of Mr. Page led to his settlement in Kanawha, and during the time of his residence there he officiated in Charleston, at Coalsmouth, and Point Pleasant. A good be

, ginning was made by Mr. Page, and, if circumstances had not made him feel it his duty to seek another field of labour after a few years, it is thought that the Church in that county would have greatly benefited by his labours. He was succeeded, after a number of years, by the Rev. Frederick D. Goodwin, who laboured amidst many difficulties for two years and then removed to another field. The Rev. Mr. Martin followed Mr. Goodwin, and laboured at Charleston and Coalsmouth. He was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Craik, now of Louisville, who laboured among them for some years. Mr. Whittle and Mr. Ward were the next ministers. Mr. Ward was followed by the Rev. R. T. Brown, who, after a few years, was obliged, on account of his failing voice, to relinquish the charge. The Rev. Thompson L. Smith is the present minister.

There is an excellent brick church in Charleston, whose history deserves a special notice. When I first visited Kanawha, there were only two communicants in our Church in Charleston,-Mrs. Colonel Lovell and Mrs. Quarrier. There were some few other ladies, who by birth or education were attached to the Episcopal Church, and some few gentlemen who laughingly advocated it in preference to others. There was no Episcopal Church, and the idea of building one seemed preposterous. Some two or three ladies, however, determined upon a trial,—their husbands, fathers, and brothers making sport of it. They used their tongues, their hands, their pens, and raised in one year about a hundred dollars, which afforded amusement to the gentlemen. The ladies, with charac

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »