February 16: Sevellon Alden Brown (1895)

The following excerpt from a front-page article in The Evening Star describes the February 5, 1880 marriage of Sevellon Alden Brown and Sallie Maynadier Phelps at Epiphany Church.

“The church was literally crowded by seven o’clock. The entire diplomatic corps, the Secretary of State and family, and many other officials were all present. The chancel was handsomely decorated with flowers. Suspended from an arch of choice white blossoms, relieved with a background of green leaves, was a marriage bell, with long white ribbons extending to the chancel rail. Two large S’s, in flowers, were in front of the altar. These are the initials of the first name of both bride and groom. The bridal party entered while the organist played the bridal chorus from Lohengrin.”

New York native Sevellon Brown had come to Washington during the Civil War under Secretary of State William Seward. Brown worked his way up and seven years later became Chief Clerk of the State Department. The chief clerk’s office included custody of archives, distribution of correspondence, and supervision of department personnel and property. Holding office for nearly twenty years, Brown provided the State Department with administrative continuity. Three of Brown’s children were baptized at Epiphany and after his death on February 16, 1895, Brown’s funeral took place at the same church where he had been married 15 years earlier.

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