February 10: Epiphany Sewing School (1877)

Under the rectorship of William Paret, Epiphany took another step in reaching out to the downtown poor by the opening of a sewing school. The February 1877 issue of the Parish Guide stated, “The Sewing School, recently begun, has been placed, by the Rector, under the care of Miss Joseph. It meets every Saturday at 2 P.M., in the room over the Sunday School room. The number of scholars is each week increasing.” Starting with five teachers and only five students, it ended its first session in May with thirteen teachers and seventy-five students. Most of the 153 garments made in 1877 were distributed among the attendees, scholars being rewarded for neatness and punctuality by the distribution among them of the garments that were made.


From all accounts, Miss Lizzie Joseph was a devoted Epiphany parishioner and very committed to its outreach initiatives. Her father, Dr. Richard Joseph, was confirmed at Epiphany as an adult. He served as superintendent of the Sunday School and was also a sponsor at numerous non-family member baptisms, including that of African-American sexton, James Saunders. In addition to serving as superintendent of the Sewing School, Lizzie Joseph was on the Board of Lady Managers of the Epiphany Church Home. After her funeral at Epiphany, Lizzie was laid to rest next to her father in Oak Hill Cemetery. Their tombstone reads, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

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