Christian Cross on Three-step Pedestal]
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C.
ELIZABETH CITY, N. C.June 1948
BRIEF HISTORY OF CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH PARISH
ELIZABETH CITY, N. C.
Across the vast Atlantic a sailing vessel approaches the shore of what is now North Carolina. Standing in the prow, a man holds out a cross toward the land. This sketch, drawn by one John White, among the first settlers to arrive in North America with Sir Walter Raleigh's expeditions, depicts the planting of the Church on our eastern shore in July 1584.
Later this John White wrote: “The thirteenth of August (1587) our Savage Manteo, by the commandment of Sir Walter Raleigh, was Christened in Roanoke. . . . The eighteenth, Eleanor, daughter of the Governor, was delivered of a daughter in Roanoke, and the same was Christened there the Sunday following.” The child was named Virginia Dare, the first person of English parentage born on the American continent, and thus began, the first Christian sacrament of the Episcopal Church in America.
Permanent settlements here in Pasquotank County began about 1630 by parties from Jamestown, Virginia. In 1629 this territory was called Carolina. The first General Assembly of North Carolina met in 1665 at Halls Creek, Pasquotank County. The next year, 1666, a settlement was made in Pasquotank County on the river of the same name by settlers from Bermuda. In 1670 Thomas Relfe built a home on Pasquotank River near Elizabeth City which in 1677 was the site of Culpepper's Revolt.
These early settlements became permanent. Means for giving them churches were provided when under Acting Governor Henderson Walker, the Assembly of 1701 passed an Act creating the precincts of Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank and Currituck into parishes, and selecting a vestry in each parish, authorizing these vestries to lay taxes for building churches, purchasing glebes, and employing clergymen and readers.
Thus before any minister had served in the colony, the people themselves were endeavoring to set up the Church of their fathers. The Rev. John Blair, sent from England in 1703 by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, baptised many children and visited the parishes in Chowan, Perquimans and Pasquotank, called the vestries together for instruction in their duties, and urged them to keep up the services of the Church.
The Rev. Mr. Ackers writes in 1708 to Her Majesty's Secretary in London that “The citizens of Pasquotank have agreed to build a Church and two chapels.” History remains silent as to their location in the county, but an old map of 1770 shows a church and two chapels located as, follows: one chapel near what is now South Mills, another chapel on Raymond's Creek, and the church on the narrows of North River. One of the chapels is in the northwestern part and the other chapel in the southeastern part of Pasquotank County, but now is Camden County. The Rev. Mr. Adams, another missionary to Pasquotank from the S. P. G., writing to Her Majesty's Secretary, states that with the settlers that have come to Pasquotank from the West Indies, was a learned, public spirited layman named Charles Griffin, who seeing the crying need of the people, established by 1705 a school on Symons creek for the children of the settlers nearby. Mr. Griffin acted both as teacher in his school and as a lay leader in the Episcopal Church.
Two vestries were appointed in Pasquotank on November 23, 1715, as follows: For south west parish: Nathaniel Chevin, Esq., Col. Thomas Boyd, Tobias Knight, Esq., Anthony Hatch, Jonathan Jacocks,
John Pailin, John Jennings, Richard Waldren, Edmund Gale, William Norris and Robert Lowry. For the north east parish: Thomas Miller, Esq., John Solley, John Relfe, John Bell, Samuel Barnard, Capt. John Norson, Gabriel Burnham, Thomas Sawyer, Henry Sawyer and Allen Spence.
The General Assembly of North Carolina, meeting in New Bern from December 12, 1754 through September 30, 1756, consolidated the parishes of St. John's and St. Peter's in Pasquotank County.
It would be most interesting if the records of all these vestries could be found. From the Pasquotank court minutes of June 1778 we find: “Ordered that the clerk of the overseers of the poor for the parish of St. John's in Pasquotank have orders to apply to the overseers of the poor of the county of Camden, or any person who may have the records belonging to the late vestry of St. John's and demand same.”
Early court records trace the acquisition of land for Church purposes:
1744 King George II by indenture dated September 17, 1744, granted to “John Lord Carteret a certain District Territory or parcel of land lying in the province of North Carolina.”
1761 On November 6, 1761, Isaac Sawyer bought from Lord Granville for ten shillings sterling 250 acres of land in St. John's Parish, Pasquotank County as follows: “The right honorable John Earle Granville Viscount Carteret and Baron Carteret of hawns in the county of Bedford in the Kingdom of Great Britain Lord President of his Majesties most honorable privy Council & knight of the most Noble order of the garter of the one part & Isaac Sawyer of Pasquotank County in the province of North Carolina, Planter, of the second part. . . .’
1790 The following deed dated July 15, 1790, is to the Episcopal Church and copied as found in the Court House Records:
“Know all Men whom it may Concern that we John Cartwright Sen. of Pasquotank County in the State of North Carolina planter and Elizabeth Cartwright his wife, for the Good will and grate effection that they bare to the high Church commonly called the Church of England hath given a Sertain peace of land lying and being in the County aforesaid the plase whereon Isaac Sawyer Chapel now stands containing one acer. Butted and bounded as follows, Beginning at a pine standing on the North side of the main road so running up the sade rode to another pine a Corner tree, from thence acrofs the sd. rode a Strate corse to another pine standing near the old rode, from thence running near a east Course to another pine a Corner tree from thence a Strate corse to the first Station pine. To Have and to Hold the said land by the bounds aforesaid unto Isaac Sawyer and all those who profefs the high Church commonly called the Church of England, for them the said profefsors to bild and erect a Church or Chapel for a house of worship free and Clear from this day forwd. provided no desenter shall have any priviledge or clame to the said land, or building thereon, I therefore warrant & forever defend the said land unto the said Profefsors of Religion for the use of publick worship so long as any profefs & maintain the established Church or what is called the Epistakel Church of Amorcuky from me my heirs exn. administrators or afsigns forever, under the Penalty of One hundred & fifty pounds good and lawful money. In witnefs hereof we have hereunto Seet our hands & Seals this 15th day of July 1790. Sealed and delivered In the presence of John Cartwright, Isaac Burnham, Lodwick Williams and Ebenezer Sawyer.
John Cartwright, (Seal)
Elizabeth X Cartwright (Seal)”
—First to bear this name. Built 1825-1826 and stood where the parish house now stands. Drawn from memory by Mrs. Addie Tillett.]
Though the first definitely known Christ Church was built 1825 and 1826, we find the first deed for the land to the Church as follows:
1827 December 7, 1827 from John McMorine to William Martin, John McMorine, Samuel Mathews, Alpheus Forbes, Jr., and Isaac N. Lamb, being the vestry of Christ Church at that time. The lot is the one on which the parish house now stands, “containing about one fourth of an acre, bounded on the north by South Street and on the west by Third Street, being lot number 16 in the plan of the town.”
1828 Court House records show that on April 3, 1828, Miles White gave a deed to Christ Church for one-quarter acre of land for the “Episcopal Cemetery.” Later other land was added on both sides. This old cemetery is located between Ehringhaus and Shepard Streets.
1842 March 19, 1842, John Wilson of Pasquotank County “being desirous of advancing the propagation of religion in the town of Elizabeth City” recorded a deed for a parcel of land, during his life time, to become the property of the three Churches then in Elizabeth City, upon the death of himself and his wife, Grace. The deed reads as follows:
“Parcel of land situate in the town of Elizabeth City on road or Main Street, beginning at a point on sd. Street in the middle of the canal at the corner of Mansard lot and running down said canal at a distance of 208 ft., thence 104 ft. parallel with road Street to a lot formerly belonging to A. Williams, thence to road Street bounding sd. Williams lot and thence to final station, to the Trustees or Vestry of the three Churches now in Elizabeth City, viz., to the Vestry of the Protestant Episcopal Church, the Trustees or Vestry of the Methodist Church and to the Trustees of the Baptist Church on the road running out Middle Street, near the town line, and their succefsors in office in equal shares to be disposed of for their several benefits.”
1850 January 1, 1850, Joseph H. Pool sold to Edward M. Forbes for Christ Church for $420.00 a lot 33 ft. wide on Fearing St. and 102 ft. deep, bounded on the east by lot now occupied by the Bus Station.
1870 November 23, 1870, William W. Griffin sold to William F. Martin, William H. Clark, Frank Vaughan, William A. Harney and D. B. Bradford, as vestry of the Church for $300.00 and paid for by them, the lot on which the stores now stand.
Just when and how the Church came into possession of the land on which it now stands, and also the garden plot, is not known. Perhaps this was the one acre on which Isaac Sawyer's Chapel stood and which John Cartwright and wife sold to the “Epistakel Church of Amorcuky.”
The following is a list of the rectors of Christ Church Parish:
|1.||Rev. John Avery, rector St. Paul's, Edenton||1825-1826|
|2.||Rev. P. B. Wiley, first resident rector||1826-1827|
|3.||Rev. J. B. Buxton||1827-1829|
|4.||Rev. P. B. Wiley||1829-1833|
|5.||Rev. Wm. D. Cairns||1834-1835|
|6.||Rev. C. F. McRae||1835-1838|
|7.||Rev. H. Stanley||1838-1840|
|8.||Rev. J. Morss||1841-1842|
|9.||Rev. L. Noble||1842-1844|
|10.||Rev. E. M. Forbes||1844-1859|
|11.||Rev. M. H. Vaughan||1859-1860|
|12.||Rev. E. M. Forbes||1860-1865|
|13.||Rev. M. M. Marshall||1865-1867|
|14.||Rev. D. Margot||1867-1868|
|15.||Rev. J. W. Murphy||1868-1870|
|16.||Rev. M. H. Vaughan||1870-1873|
|17.||Rev. S. H. Gallaudet||1874-1874|
|18.||Rev. John Kierman||1875-1885|
|19.||Rev. Robt. J. Walker||1886-1887|
|20.||Rev. Henry A. Skinner||1888-1889|
|21.||Rev. Louis Llewellen Williams||1889-1906|
|22.||Rev. Claudius F. Smith||1906-1912|
|23.||Rev. Charles Aylett Ashby||1913-1917|
|24.||Rev. Herbert S. Osburn||1917-1918|
|25.||Rev. Geo. F. Hill||1919-|
1825 The “official” history of Christ Church parish is really found in the Church register beginning “In the year A. D. 1825, upon the request and representation of a few families residing in Elizabeth City, the Rev. Mr. Avery of Edenton was induced to visit this place, and arrangements were made for a monthly celebration of Divine Service according to the prescribed forms of the Protestant Episcopal Church. This arrangement continued until Feb. A. D. 1826, at which time the Rev. Philip Bruce Wiley received a call to the charge of this congregation which was soon after organized under the title of ‘the congregation of Christ's Church.’ ”
The old Church registers record the earliest ministrations as follows:
June 26, 1821, John L. Bailey and Priscilla E. Brownrigs.
Nov. 17, 1825, John McMorine and Martha T. Sawyer.
Jan. 19, 1826, Jos. T. Granberry and Sarah A. B. Sawyer.
June 1, 1828, Robert M. Knox and Rebecca Crawford.
Oct. 9, 1828, William T. Bryant and Parmelia Picket.
Dec. 11, 1828, Alfred M. Gatlin and Sarah Copeland.
Feb. 10, 1829, Adolph Ehringhaus and Mary S. Burges.
July 12, 1829, John B. Mansard and Margaret Barr.
May 13, 1829, William Rogerson and Susan B. Grice.
Feb. 27, 1825, John McMorine, son of Samuel and Harriet Matthews; born Feb. 10, 1825.
April 8, 1825, Ann Maria, daughter of John W. and Harriet Langley; born Dec. 7, 1811.
April 8, 1825, George Washington, son of John W. and Harriet Langley; born Aug. 7, 1815.
May 3, 1825, William Francis and Peter Douge, children of Dr. Wm. and Sophie Martin; the former born July 31, 1821, the latter Dec. 21, 1823.
May 21, 1826, William G. Burgess, sponsors: Martha McMorine and Claudia Gregory.
Oct. 22, 1826, Isaac N. Lamb.
_____, 1834, “Margaret, Osborn, Samuel, Lucy, Anna, Hetty, Isaac, Matilda, Caroline, Allen, Clarissa, Anthony, Eden, Thomas, Nelson, Eliza, Henry, Edward, Sally, Harriet and Augusta, twenty-one in all, property of Joshua Skinner, esq.”
April 22, 1826, by Bishop Ravenscroft—Sophie Martin, William Martin, Harriet Langley, Mary Burgess, Thomas Vaughan, Samuel Mathews and Thomas Mathews.
Oct. 29, 1826, by Bishop Ravenscroft—Nancy McCloud, Mary H. Moore, and Isaac N. Lamb.
April 25, 1829, by Bishop Ravenscroft—Mrs. Rachel Albertson, Benjamin Albertson, Penelope Albertson, Emily Albertson, Mrs. Ann C. Mullen, Ann Rogerson, Sarah Williams, Mrs. Mary Lockwood, Sidney G. Lamb, Mrs. Ann Mix, Joshua
Skinner, John McMorine, Mrs. Martha Forbes, Latitia Forbes, Mrs. Margaret Barr, Mary Langley, Rebeckah Knox and Charles Grice.
April 23, 1826, the following communed: Harriet C. Mathews, Martha McMorine, Matilda G. Ehringhaus, Molly Mathews, and Mary Sawyer.
Thirteen communicants were reported to the Diocesan Convention of 1828.
Thirty-one communicants were reported to the convention of 1832.
Aug. 12, 1827, Peter D. Martin, aged 4 years.
Aug. 13, 1827, Philip W. Heath, aged 6 months.
Sept. 16, 1827, Ann Lamb, aged 6 weeks.
Feb. 1, 1828, Adam Douglass, seaman, foreignor.
Nov. 23, 1829, Jasper Pickett, tavern keeper.
The first item in Church finances is as follows: “Nov. 30, 1834, In Church for Sunday School library $8.80. Dec. 10, 1834, paid for 36 vols. Sunday School books . . . $7.20.”
May 18, 1835, $35.00 was paid as the parish assessment. May 18, 1835, by order of the vestry the sexton was paid $11.41.
April 13, 1841, at a congregational meeting, the following were elected vestrymen: John C. Ehringhaus and John McMorine, Wardens, Wm. B. Shepard, Chas. R. Kinney, Gilbert Elliott, Dr. R. Piemont, Dr. Mathews, Sr., and Dr. J. Harrell.
1842 The following item is found in the Church register: “At the time the Rev. Louis Noble came to this parish (1842) society would not tolerate a beard, especially in a clergyman. Mr. Noble wore a full set of whiskers. On this he persisted during his ministrations although he was formally requested by the vestry to shave off his beard, and at the same time informed that his usefulness in the barish was impaired by his unusual custom.”
1844 On Monday after Easter, April 8, 1844, the following men were elected vestrymen: G. R. Kinney, Esq., and Wm. Martin, Esq., Wardens, General J. H. Jacocks, Wm. B. Shepard, Esq., Dr. R. Piemont, G. Elliott, Esq., Robinson White, Wm. Griffin, Samuel Proctor and Geo. Brooks, Esq.
1844 The following were elected at the same time as above, as delegates from Christ Church to attend the next annual convention of the Diocese of North Carolina to be held in St. Peter's Church, Washington, on the fourth Wednesday in May, 1844: General J. H. Jacocks, C. R. Kinney, Esq., Wm. B. Shepard, Esq., G. Elliott, Esq., Wm. Griffin, Wm. Martin, Esq., S. Proctor and George Brooks, Esq.
1845 The Church was altered at this time and the middle row of pews was added. The new organ was presented by J. C. Ehringhaus, Esq. It is an Erben organ and is now in the gallery. “The beautiful font was presented by Miss A. E. Collins of Edenton.”
1856 $6,000.00 was raised this year for a new Church. A draft of the building was made by J. Crawford Nelson of Baltimore and Mr. Coates of Petersburg took the contract, and employed F. Haskins to do the mason work and “Blanchard” to do the wood work. It was begun in October. Messrs. W. W. Griffin, John Black and the rector acted as the Building Committee. In July 1857 the workmen were discharged. Mr. W. W. Griffin greatly facilitated the work by advancing funds and subscribed $1,000.00; the others doubled their subscriptions. The Church was consecrated by Bishop Atkinson on
May 9, 1858, although services had been held in the Church since December 1857.
One of the most interesting features about our present Church building is its “open roof structure” using the hammerbeam trusses. This truss feature is very rare and beautiful. It is designed to carry the weight of the roof partly as a thrust against the wall as well as upon the top of the wall.
It is practically impossible to tell just what the membership of Christ Church was when the present Church was built in 1856 and 1857. Just ten years later however the membership was reported as 77. To the mind of the writer, that which stands out above all else in the Church registers, is the above. It shows that those loyal 77 or less, were not thinking of themselves only when they built. They built a Church with a seating capacity of 450 though with a membership of probably less than 77. We of today owe them a great debt. It is very unusual to find so few people building so large a Church. Their faith in the future must not be misplaced. It is our duty to see that it is not.
1860 During this year the vestry consisted of Messrs. J. C. Ehringhaus, Richard B. Creecy, Frank Vaughan and Dr. Robinson Piemont. At this time the vestry “resolved that hereafter the rector's salary is to be $600.00 per annum, payable quarterly in advance.”
The Rev. E. M. Forbes, rector during this period, played a prominent part in civic affairs. The reader is urged to read the truly beautiful account of Mr. Forbes given in the Church Register.
After the capture of Roanoke Island, General Burnside steamed up the Pasquotank River with his Federal forces and shelled Elizabeth City. This was in 1862. A great part of the town was burned and many of the citizens had left. The Rev. E. M. Forbes met the Federal Forces at the wharf, surrendered the town and asked protection. Throughout the war Mr. Forbes remained in the city and administered to one and all. The present Christ Church was built in 1856 while he was rector and to his untiring energy and devotion the Church and many other buildings of the city were left untouched.
1867 The old bell was sold for $100.00 and a new one was bought from Register & Sons, Baltimore, for $527.00. The bell weighed 1042 lbs. This is our bell of 1948.
1868 There were 82 members of Christ Church in 1868 as follows: Mrs. Matilda Sawyer (Gregory) Ehringhaus, Mrs. Sophia Scott (Douge) Martin, Mrs. Claudia Hamilton (Ellegood) Vaughan, Mrs. Penelope Sutton (Albertson) Piemont, Mrs. Sarah F. (Davis) Kinney Black, Mrs. Harriet (Williams) Story, Mrs. Laura Matilda (Bamford) Pool, Mrs. Sarah Mary Mathews (Vaughan) Murphy, William Francis Martin, Mrs. Catherine Haynes (Erskine) Ehringhaus, Robinson Piemont, Mrs. Elizabeth (McMorine) Martin, Miss Sophia Ellen Martin, Mrs. Ann Elizabeth (Proctor) Pool, Miss Sarah Laverty, Francis William Sharp Vaughan, Miss Eliza Jane Cook, Mrs. Harriet Mathews (Butler) Morris, Mrs. Mary Lavinia (Pool) Pool, Mrs. Elizabeth Margaret (Jones) Speed, James M. Pool, Mrs. Elizabeth Broshier (Wilson) Fearing, Mrs. Penelope Leary (Etheridge) Russell, Richard B. Creecy, Mrs. Mary B. (Perkins) Creecy, Mrs. Elizabeth Gordon (Russell) Griffin, Mrs. Matilda Gregory (Ehringhaus) Bradford, Miss Sarah Ann Russell, Mrs. Sarah Catherine (Kinney) Saunders, Miss Almira Caroline Russell, Mrs. Mary Frances (Spruill) Davis, Miss Elizabeth Nelson Story, Mrs. Anna Elizabeth Virginia (Laverty) Cohoon, Miss Susan Bruce Shepard, Mrs. Annie (Scott) Vaughan, Miss Maria Tisdale, Miss Carrie Tisdale, Mrs. Lavinia (Whitehurst) Whitehurst, Miss Elizabeth Kinney, William Augustus Harney, Mrs. Sarah Richardson (Freshwater) Harney, Mrs. Louisa (Elliott) Lee, Mrs. Mary Louisa (Culpepper) Ball, Mrs. Elizabeth
CHRIST CHURCH—Built 1856-1857. Photograph made 1948
(Freshwater) Gaskins Pritchard, Miss Mary Benbury Creecy, Miss Ella Gale Creecy, Miss Elizabeth Taliaferro Piemont, Miss Laura Elizabeth Pool, Miss Mary Jane Scott, Mrs. Clara (Bartlett) Bradford, Daniel Bartlett Bradford, Mrs. Jane Dorothy (Harrison) Cook, Miss Emily Virginia Black, Mrs. Elizabeth (Cartwright) Spruill, Miss Eveline Spruill, Miss Emily Rushbrook Speed, Mrs. J. Brothers, Mrs. Anna Caroline Christina (Ehringhaus) Culpepper, Miss Amelia Erskine Ehringhaus, Miss Elizabeth Ehringhaus, Mrs. Susan Lavinia (Charles) Grice, Mrs. Emily (Murphy) Cook, Miss Emma Wilson Saunders, Mrs. Catherine (Wagner) Clark, Miss Martha McMorine Martin, James Nimmo Vaughan, Miss Ozella Elizabeth Garner, Mrs. Margaret (Upton) McCabe, Mrs. Helen Mar (Burns) Garner, Mrs. Florence Lescels (Glover) Grandy, Miss Lucinda Caroline Williams, Miss Margaret Steger, Miss Sarah Sawyer, Miss Narcissa Bell, Miss Cairns, Miss Claudia Martha Murphy, Mrs. Murrier (Shepard) Dickerson, Prince Dickerson, Cherry Dickerson, Edward Johnson, Rhonie Johnson, Mrs. Mary (Shepard) Martin, Miss Grace Cherry and Miss Jane Pool.
1872 The new rectory was begun in July and finished in March 1873 costing $1400.00.
1890 The galvanized arch or decoration about the front door of the Church was placed there 1890, being substituted for a wooden one. New steps were built and a new roof put on.
1892 The 5 ft. 11 ft. frame vestry room was torn down and “the present commodious one” was finished at a cost of $285.00.
1893 A new hot water heating system was placed in the Church and used for the first time on December 28, 1893. Cost $816.00. Boiler house and pit cost $120.00.
1895 The heating system not giving satisfaction an exchange was made with the manufacturers at an additional cost of $69.35.
1897 The old rectory was removed to a vacant lot back of the Church and a new rectory begun November 8, 1897, and occupied by the rector April 1898. Cost $1900.00. Rectory was built by Chilcut & Bramble, contractors.
1901 The chancel floor of the Church was raised and extended into the body of the Church three feet. Cost $30.00. This was paid for by St. Catherine's Guild.
On May 11th, the black walnut altar and reredos were placed in the chancel. This was made at T. A. Commander & Sons mill by Mr. Emerson Davis out of native walnut, costing $161.00, which amount was raised by popular subscription by Miss Sophie Martin.
1902 Roof and pews were varnished, and new carpet put down. Electric lights were put in, costing $100.00. The ivy on the sacristy was planted by the Rev. L. L. Williams, the sprout being taken from Old Blanford Church, Petersburg, Va.
1915 The new steam heating system was installed in the Church at a cost of $586.00.
1919 The first Junior Choir was organized this year by the rector and Mrs. Hill, consisting of: Adolphus Dean, crucifer; Harvey Dawson, flag bearer; Braxton Dawson, William H. Scott, Bonnie Parks, Catherine Hathaway, Katherine Duff, Dorothy Zoeller, Erskine Duff, Evelyn Sedgewick, Eva McMullan, Eva Chappell, Elizabeth Etheridge, Ellen Melick, Eloise Chesson, Frank Dawson, Helen Little, Harris Parks, Hearne Jones, John McMullan, Joe Dean, Julian Morgan, Louise Creecy, Lucille Jennette, Louise Outlaw, Martha Scott, Mary Owens, Mary Creecy, Mattie Shaw, Mary Tarkenton, Minnie Lee Brockett, Morgia Bell Carr, Virginia Owens, Sybil Beualieu, Nell Palmer, Evelyn Covert, Millicent Grice, Mary Etheridge Rhea and Virginia Hufty. Pictures of nearly all the Junior Choirs from 1919 to 1948 are in the parish house main hall.
1924 Mrs. Lizzie Overman left her home and large lot of several acres, between S. Road and Martin Streets, to the Church which were sold in 1925 for $17,025.00, and together with $6,000 left in the will of Mr. D. B. Bradford, became the starting point for funds to build the present parish house.
1924 The congregation met in the Church on the evening of November 30th, 1924, and voted to build and furnish a new parish house, repair the Church, move rectory and build five stores after the congregation had subscribed at least $15,000.00.
1925 At a meeting of the vestry March 3, 1925, Mr. W. G. Gaither, chairman of finance committee, reported that $15,135.00 had been subscribed to the building program. The Building Committee was elected to consist of the following: Messrs. J. T. McCabe, Dr. A. L. Pendleton, A. B. Houtz, C. O. Robinson and W. P. Skinner.
In May the rectory was moved by Mr. V. B. Perry of Norfolk at a cost of $850.00.
Benton & Benton, Wilson, N. C., were selected as architects for the building program.
June 15th the large buttresses to the Church were begun, the first of the work.
October 20th the eastern wall of the Church, being the wall back of the altar, was torn down in order to extend the chancel about 15 feet, and in the north east corner, imbedded in the wall, a large sealed bottle was found by the workmen, containing one copy of the North Carolina Native Sentinel, issue of Saturday, Oct. 25, 1856, L. D. Starke, editor and publisher. Also copy of the Democratic Pioneer, issue of Tuesday, October 28, 1856, W. E. Mann, editor and publisher, both papers of Elizabeth City. There were also enclosed in the bottle several ballots for the national election, the contending candidates for the presidency being Millard Fillmore of the National American Ticket, and James Buchanan of the National Democratic Ticket. The elector for the first district on the National Democratic Ticket was W. F. Martin, who was the father of our late vestryman and loyal churchman, Mr. R. B. Martin. A part of the bottle has been left in the wall just as found and the wall so built as to leave same visible where it may be seen today.
1925 The following contracts were awarded this year: Building parish house to L. B. Perry for $34,360.00. Wiring parish house to Suggs & Bridgers, Wilson, N. C. for $726.00. Plumbing parish house to R. E. Lewis for $596.00. Heating parish house to R. E. Lewis for $2,841.00. Building stores to Forbes Construction Co., Norfolk, Va., for $15,553.00. Lighting fixtures for parish house and Church to Biehl Fixture Mfg. Co., Norfolk, Va., for $1,533.25.
The repairs and improvements on the Church were to be done under the direction of the architects, and Mr. Moses Palmer of Elizabeth City was selected as foreman of work.
The vestry serving through the major part of the building program consisted of the following men: Messrs. J. T. McCabe, Sr. Warden; G. R. Little, Jr. Warden; F. G. Jacocks, Treas.; W. H. Weatherly, Jr., Secy.; W. G. Gaither, J. T. Stevenson, W. C. Dawson, J. C. B. Ehringhaus, Dr. M. S. Bulla, W. P. Skinner, R. B. Martin and A. B. Houtz.
The work of repairing the Church, and making it second to none in beauty in the State, and building the parish house, stores, etc., was a great responsibility placed upon the vestry, Building Committee and various sub-committees, but they all measured up in every detail. To their faithful and loyal interest, always giving the building problems the same care and thought as though they were personal, goes the credit and honor for Christ Church having one of the most beautiful and practical parish houses in North Carolina.
Interior of CHRIST CHURCH showing chancel
1926 In 1926 the vestry had a brick building erected on the southeast corner of this block to be rented for stores. This building cost $18,500.00 to build. During the years following 1929 the rent from the stores provided payments on the parish debt and also interest. This debt being caused by the erection of the parish house, repairs to the Church building and the building of the stores.
Mr. Chas. H. Robinson left in his will $25,000 and his corner lot on Fearing and Poindexter Streets in this block to the Church with the vestry to act as trustees in setting up The Robinson Charity Fund. This Fund began operating in 1932. The large house standing on the lot was taken down and the lot leased to the Norfolk Southern Bus Co. in 1939, who soon after erected the station there. In most careful handling of the original capital the vestry has in 1947 increased the capital to $31,185.49. During the fifteen years, 1932-1947, the Robinson Charity Fund has donated $17,021.41 to charity. By the will of Mr. Robinson 25% of the net income shall go to the general fund of the Church, and 75% shall go for charity in the following counties: Pasquotank, Perquimans, Camden, Currituck, Tyrrell and Dare.
The Diocesan Conventions of the Church have been held in Christ Church in 1850, 1882, 1902, 1908, 1917, 1927 and 1941.
The parish still has all its old Church registers from 1821 to the present date. These records contain many interesting items, throwing much light on the past history of the city.
Before the Civil War and until a Church for colored people was built, they were counted in the membership of Christ Church. The records show that a great many slaves were baptised at the request of their owners. The Church registers also show that there were quite a few free colored persons.
The corner stone of St. Phillip's Church for colored people was laid April 4, 1893, by the then rector of Christ Church, the Rev. L. L. Williams, who with the vestry and members of the parish were instrumental in its building. It was consecrated April 24, 1898, by Bishop Watson.
Many of the streets of Elizabeth City were named for old residents shown in the Church registers.
From “a few families” in 1825, and from 77 members in 1867, the membership of Christ Church has grown in 1948 to 260. Though with a church building seating about 450, we have yet much room to fill.
Mr. W. G. Gaither, many times vestryman of Christ Church, originated the idea of having the men of the Diocese make a semi-annual thank offering for missionary work in the Diocese, similar to the United Thank Offering of the women. This idea has become a fine reality and such Laymen's Thank Offerings are now made in nearly all the parishes and missions in the Diocese.
The officers of Christ Church parish for the year 1948 are as follows:
|Senior Warden: F. G. Jacocks|
|Junior Warden: A. W. Gard, Jr.|
|J. A. Buglass||R. W. Luther|
|J. W. Foreman||J. W. Moore, Jr.|
|W. G. Gaither||C. O. Robinson, Jr.|
|R. J. Gonder||W. P. Skinner|
|J. D. Hathaway, Jr.||J. T. Stevenson|
Skipper Hall, Brock McMullan, Paul Stevenson, Mac White
P. R. Little and J. W. Moore, Jr.
F. G. Jacocks
Mrs. A. H. Worth
Mrs. P. R. Little
JUNIOR CHOIR ORGANIST:
Miss Ethel V. Jones
Mrs. E. C. Conger
YOUNG PEOPLE'S SERVICE LEAGUE:
Counselor: Miss Hattie M. Harney
President: Miss Virginia Flora Hall
President: Mrs. R. S. Toxey
President: Mrs. J. T. Stevenson
St. Anne's Guild: President: Mrs. E. W. Richards
St. Agnes Guild: President: Mrs. R. J. Gonder
St. Catherine's Guild: President: Mrs. R. S. Toxey
St. Mary's Guild: President: Mrs. I. C. Olson
Christ Church Guild: President: Mrs. A. L. Pendleton
President: J. W. Moore, Jr.
Superintendent: Paul R. Little
Secretary-Treasurer: H. K. Houtz
Mrs. W. W. Foreman, Mrs. R. J. Gonder
The Memorial Committee, consisting of G. R. Little, W. P. Skinner, J. Wayne Moore, Jr., Mrs. W. A. Worth and the rector, was appointed by the vestry to pass on all memorials before they are placed in the Church, and to issue this booklet.
CHANCEL OF CHAPEL IN PARISH HOUSE
MEMORIALS AND GIFTS
A memorial is a monument in some form used to keep alive the memory of a person, event or a period. It may be in brass, stone, silver or even a tree. For example, the cross on the Altar is a memorial to Belle Allen Engle, 1908, and the Tabernacle on which the cross rests is to Mrs. Florence Engle Jones, her daughter, 1946.
The Altar and Reredos were given in 1901 as memorials to the Rev. Edward McCartney Forbes. The plain Brass Candlesticks on the Altar are in memory of Albert Hugh Worth, Sr., 1914, and the ornate ones, as well as the handsome Eucharistic floor candlesticks and two offering plates are gifts from Mr. Roscoe Crary, a former member.
The Candles used in the Church are purchased from a Memorial Fund in memory of Elizabeth Martin Wood, 1935. The Altar Desk was given by Mrs. L. L. Williams as a thank offering for her recovery from a serious illness.
The large Receiving Basin is in memory of William Joseph and Camilla Cook Griffin, 1914. The two smaller plates are in memory of Harry Torry Greenleaf, Sr.
The brass Vases for flowers on the Re-Table are memorials to Mr. Erskine Ehringhaus, 1942. The large Processional Cross is in memory of Carrie Corville Ehringhaus, his wife, 1914.
The Junior Processional Cross is in memory of Joseph Levering McCabe, Jr., 1929.
The beautiful new all silver Communion Service, consisting of lavabo, water cruet, intinction applicator, paten, chalice and bread box, were given in memory of Joseph Timmons McCabe and Loumattie Guirkin McCabe, 1946.
For the Altar we have four beautiful sets of Altar Cloths, in red, white, purple and green, for Altar, pulpit and lectern, given in memory of Charles Hall Robinson and Mary Leigh Robinson, 1942. The lovely crocheted Altar Cloth is in memory of Capt. A. L. Cahoon and Minnie Dillon Cahoon, 1939. The hand made Altar Cloth, from bits of linen lace furnished by members of the Church and friends, was the work and gift of Mrs. W. A. Worth, 1935.
The brass Candle Lighter was the gift of the Altar Guild, 1941. The United States Flag, staff and stand were given by the Young People's Service League, 1942. The beautiful Church Flag is the gift of the Business Woman's Guild, which is now St. Mary's Guild, 1942.
We also have a small private Communion Service, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Conger, 1938. On the Altar is a red Altar Service Book given in memory of John Cristoph Erskine Ehringhaus, taking the place of one given in thanksgiving for the recovery from illness of Mary Katherine Duff.
The useful Bobaches that we use on the candles on the Altar were made and given by the rector, Mr. Hill, 1943. The Credence Table, used for holding the alms basins, is in memory of Elizabeth Shelton Jacocks, 1945. The Priest's Chair was given by Mrs. E. T. Aydlett as a thanksgiving for the recovery from serious illness of her daughter.
Leaving the Sanctuary there is a very handsome Eagle Lectern given in memory of Helen Wadsworth Martin, a long time organist of the Church, 1902. The Bible on the Lectern is to Mrs. Susan Charles Grice.
Above the Lectern is a memorial Hymn Board to Mrs. Elizabeth Wood Stewart, 1943. Our Pulpit is in memory of Dr. William W. Griggs and above it is a Hymn Board to his wife, Johanna Griggs, 1914.
Our lovely Font and cover is a memorial to Max Leonidas Sanderlin, Jr., 1904, and the Baptismal Desk and Baptismal Prayer Book are to Elizabeth Eppes Shelton.
The Litany Desk is in memory of Gertrude Pool Greenleaf. The Brass Plaque Memorial on the north wall is in memory of Blucher Ehringhaus and Erskine Ehringhaus, 1931.
The Table at the back of the Church, as well as the cabinet for holding the Prayer Books, are in memory of Flora Griggs.
St. Agnes Guild has given a framed Honor Roll for our men in service in the second World War. The Woman's Auxiliary has also given a service Flag for the last World War Veterans, and it was framed by the Auxiliary.
We cannot forget the lovely Flagon of the Communion service which Miss Sophia Martin had made by Tiffany in New York from old silver contributed by members of the parish.
In the Tabernacle on the Re-Table is kept a memorial to Margaret Upton McCabe consisting of a silver Bread Box. The silver Spoon used in the Communion Service is also in memory of Margaret Upton McCabe.
In the “Memorial Fund”, established in 1946, there has been deposited sufficient money to pay for new Choir Stalls as a memorial to the mother of the donor. We hope these can be built soon.
We must mention our new (1947) and beautiful Pew Cushions made possible through the leadership of St. Anne's Guild, with the help of all the other Guilds of the Woman's Auxiliary, soliciting contributions from the membership of the parish.
A recent (1948) gift to the Church is a heavy duty vacuum cleaner given by the Coca-Cola Bottling Works of the city.
A nine-piece sterling private Communion Service was given in 1948 in memory of Loumattie McCabe, 1931-1933.
Senior Warden, F. G. Jacocks, gave the light back of the central panel of the rose window.
Dr. Ed. Martin gave the Church an iron safe in 1940 which belonged to his deceased brother, Mr. R. Bruce Martin.WINDOWS
EIGHTEEN stained glass windows in the nave of Christ Church described below, were designed and made by Charles J. Connick Associates, Nine Harcourt St., Boston, Mass.
They are designed in harmony with the plan established in the sanctuary windows of 1926, that is, the ornamental pattern of the “canopy” type, first introduced in simple form by thirteenth century master craftsmen, and developed to great height through the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This form of decorative architectural enrichment is well adapted to the tall narrow panels of Christ Church. Many parts of this decorative pattern are found in other parts of the Church, such as the reredos and tower.
A central tier of rich colorful subject panels develops the story of the life of Christ in significant incidents, from the Annunciation to the Resurrection and the walk to Emmaus.
In the upper range, angels hold aloft eight-pointed stars, symbolical of the Beatitudes; and below, kneeling members of the Angelic Choir bear symbols of the individual Beatitudes.
AUDITORIUM IN PARISH HOUSE
The color is planned in an alternating scheme of ruby and blue, in pairs of lancets, with pure rich tones contrasting, most effectively accenting the figures, and providing an excellent foil for the canopy of silvery tones touched with gold. The ruby and blue are echoed in minor notes throughout the compositions.INDIVIDUAL WINDOWS
WINDOW NUMBER ONE is next to the organ and near the font. It is devoted to the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel bears the symbolic lily of purity and hovers near the kneeling figure of the Virgin Mary who is in an attitude of prayer as she studies the prophecies of the Old Testament. Above her is the descending Dove, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. In the field above is the significant crowned monogram “M”, representing Mary,—Mary the Mother of God.
In WINDOW TWO we find near Mary and the infant Jesus, the protecting figure of Saint Joseph with the significant lily flowering staff. Over the group is a suggestion of the thatched roof of the stable, with the ox and the ass at either side. Above is Saint Joseph's symbol, the carpenter's square, and the fleur-de-lis.
The kneeling angels in the lower panels of both WINDOWS ONE and TWO bear the traditional symbols of the first Beatitude, the Dove, for the “Blessed Poor in Spirit.”
The THIRD WINDOW is devoted to Christ in the temple. This might be called the “Church School Window,” as it symbolizes the child at study, learning about his heavenly Father. In the upper field is the symbol of the Seven-Branched Candlestick, suggesting the Temple, while little figures are shown of Mary and Joseph searching for the Christ child.
The FOURTH WINDOW shows Jesus in the carpenter's shop, and might be called the “Labor Window,” indicating the “Nobility of Work.” The young Christ carries lumber for Saint Joseph who is planing, while Mary holds the distaff. Above is the prophetic symbol of the cross which faced Jesus even in youth.
In the lower panels of WINDOWS THREE and FOUR the angels bear the inverted torch, the traditional symbol of mourning to illustrate the Beatitude below.
In WINDOWS THREE and FOUR Christ is a youth, surrounded by the portals of the home, symbolizing where youth receives its first teaching and is given its goal and inspiration for life.
WINDOW FIVE represents the baptism of Christ by affusion, or pouring of water from a shell, a traditional custom of the early Church. Above the figure of John the Baptist is the descending Dove with rays of light from on high.
WINDOW SIX is the “Sermon on the Mount”, and might be called the “Window of the Law and the Gospel”. Here the hand of Christ is pointed toward heaven indicating that he speaks the eternal truths of God which is the Way, the Truth and the Life for all ages, by which man must live to find peace.
In the lower panels of WINDOWS FIVE and SIX, the Beatitude symbol held by the angels is the “Lamb of the Blessed Meek”.
WINDOW SEVEN represents “Come Unto Me”. Here is portrayed the spiritual appeal to all men of every nation and people; all classes are shown including the heavily laden. This window standing next to WINDOW SIX contrasts their meanings.
WINDOW SIX states the unalterable laws of God; WINDOW SEVEN portrays the appeal of the Son of God to accept these laws for man's salvation that he might grow thereby into the image of the Master.
WINDOW EIGHT represents “Stilling the Storm”. Over the head of Jesus is pictured torn sails indicating the storm, together with the waves. Notice the calm and majestic figure of Christ, symbolic of trust in God among the storms of life.
In the lower panels of WINDOWS SEVEN and EIGHT the angels hold the symbols of the “Scales of Justice” giving us pause to remember that man is free to accept or reject the “Law and the Gospel” and the “Spiritual Appeal” of Christ. It also symbolizes the Beatitude of “Those Who Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness.”
WINDOW NINE, in the west end of the Church, shows Jesus in the home of Mary and Martha. In the upper center hangs the oriental lamp, and there is shown the table prepared by Martha who busies herself with material things while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus feeding on heavenly things. This window is called the “Inscription Window,” bearing the words:IN MEMORIAM
|1848||Charles Hall Robinson||1930|
|1857||Mary Leigh Robinson||1934|
All Nave Windows
|Given by C. O. Robinson||1947|
WINDOW TEN shows the great parable of the Prodigal Son. Here the Lost Son in the far country is with the swine but Christ is by his side seeking his return home, symbolizing for us that wherever man may go, to whatever depths he may sink, the loving Christ is always near seeking to show him the way back home. Above the head of Christ is the lamp of home still burning for the prodigal and remembered even in the far country.
WINDOW ELEVEN shows the great parable of the Good Samaritan. Forsaken by the priest and the Levite as they pass on down the road, Christ stands by with healing ointment in his hand. This, like WINDOW TEN, symbolizes for us the ever present Christ, and calls to remembrance his words: “Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.”
The lower panels of WINDOWS TEN and ELEVEN show the symbol of the broken sword illustrating the Beatitude of the merciful.
WINDOW TWELVE shows the theme, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” No latchstring is shown. The door must be opened only from the inside,—it represents the human heart. Christ knocks for entrance and patiently waits through days and through long dark nights. Two sheep are shown at the feet of Christ, representing the ninety and nine safe with Christ, while he knocks on the door of the heart searching for the one that is lost.
WINDOW THIRTEEN shows the Last Supper. In the hand of Christ is the chalice filled with red wine, symbol of his blood soon to be shed. Around the table sit the twelve Apostles, and though they will soon scatter and leave him alone before his enemies, he holds his hand aloft to bless them. Judas clutches the money bag ready to depart on his mission of betrayal.
In the lower panels of WINDOWS TWELVE and THIRTEEN is the lily as the symbol of the “Pure in Heart.”
WINDOW FOURTEEN shows “Christ Before Pilate.” Pilate sits on his throne with the water jar on one side and a water basin on the other, wherein he thinks to wash away the sin of his soul by the washing of his hands. The soldier stands guard to prop the power of force, but before them stands Christ majestic and erect, though with hands tied and a crown of thorns upon his head. He stands upon
PARISH HOUSE AND CHRIST CHURCH—Church Built 1856-1857. Parish House built 1925-1926
God's eternal verities and knows that beyond Good Friday there is Easter and victory.
WINDOW FIFTEEN shows the Crucifixion. Upon the cross is I.N.R.I.—“Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.” Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John, the beloved disciple, stand at the foot of the cross. The two thieves are shown in the background.
In the lower panels of WINDOWS FOURTEEN and FIFTEEN is the symbol of the “Olive Branch of the Peacemakers.”
WINDOW SIXTEEN shows the Resurrection. Here we see flowers of spring as symbols of joy. In the hand of Christ is the banner of victory crowned with the cross. Two soldiers sleep, clothed with the implements of power, yet powerless before the will of God.
WINDOW SEVENTEEN shows the “Walk to Emmaus.” The Saviour now holds the shepherd staff, for before death and beyond the resurrection, he is still the Good Shepherd seeking his own. Here is shown the two disciples who seek to understand the truths of God, so Christ is near to teach the hungry heart. The empty tomb is shown, and above the right shoulder of Christ are the towers of Emmaus, indicating that he is on the highways of the world searching out the wandering and the lost.
In the lower panels of WINDOWS SIXTEEN and SEVENTEEN members of the angel choir hold the symbols of the “Heavenly Crown” of the “Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake.”
WINDOW EIGHTEEN, high above the sacristy door, is designed as a symbol of missions, and is called the “Mission Window.” Christ is here represented in the midst of four figures who symbolize no particular peoples, but of all races, nations and tongues,—all children of the heavenly King. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel. . .”
Besides the above eighteen windows there are four other windows illustrating the life of Christ.
The one directly over the door between the nave and the sacristy shows Christ at prayer in Gethsemane. This window was made by A. L. Brink of New York, and is in memory of Thomas Gregory Skinner—1842-1907. It was placed in the Church in 1926.
On the gospel side of the sanctuary is a window showing “Christ Blessing Children.”
On the epistle side of the sanctuary is a window showing the Ascension of Christ with his disciples grouped below him.
Both the above sanctuary windows were placed in the Church in 1926 and were made by A. L. Brink of New York. They are in memory of William Martin, Elizabeth McMorine Martin, and Martha Saunders Leary and Sophia Ellen Martin.
The three west windows in the gallery are in memory of General J. H. Jacocks.
In a window between the chancel and the sacristy are letters—“M. & R. C.” and “E. M. F.” meaning Mr. and Mrs. Creecy and the Rev. E. M. Forbes who was rector here when this Church was built in 1856.
The rose window over the altar came from the Christ Church built in 1826, which stood where the parish house now stands. It was removed to its present position with the building of this Church in 1856. It is in memory of William Martin and John McMorine. The writer has been told that it was made in Munich, Germany, about 1820.
This brief outline of the windows in Christ Church teaching the life of Christ, is printed that with it one may study these windows at leisure and feed his soul with the inspiration radiating so richly from them. One visit will not be sufficient to catch the full spirit of the windows. Every degree of light from early morning, and bright noonday, to the waning light at dusk, brings forth new colors, new inspiration, new radiance, new and nobler thoughts, and causes one to pause to pray and to arise again purer in the beholding.
The first eighteen windows were dedicated May 2, 1948, to make this Christ Church, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a nobler and a more beautiful house of prayer, and a more worthy Temple of God.
In no other Church or cathedral known to the writer is there such a complete series of windows telling the story of the Son of God.
We glory in their beauty and feed on their spiritual lessons. That is for today. And they shall speak the same language to our children and to our children's children, generations to come, each blessing the thought that placed them here.
It is the sincere prayer of the rector that all these material blessings Christ Church parish is so rich in may not hurt us. It is so easy to glory in our stately Church and splendid parish house and to forget their real meaning. Every dollar invested in our material equipment puts that much more responsibility upon us to increase proportionately in the love of God and our brothers of all lands.
A more beautiful church must give us greater incentive to bring others to our Lord through the Church. A more beautiful Church must make us worship our Master more faithfully in the Church, and to practice in our daily lives the beauty of the daily life of our great Example. A splendid parish house must make us more serious in our endeavor to know “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” We must see that the young people have their part in the Church's life and give them daily encouragement.
As a parish let us all unite in one great family whose first love is to know and to do the will of our blessed Lord. Our Church is the House of Prayer, our family hearth. Let us all gather loyally about it and find warmth, peace and happiness. Each one of us is a precious member of the family—all brothers and sisters. Let us so live. Let us be loyal to the Church, loyal to one another, loyal to worship our Father that we may be loyal to our Lord's command—“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” Amen.
REV. GEO. F. HILL, Rector.
Elizabeth City, N. C., June 25, 1948.