July 14: James Saunders (1914)

For forty-one years, James Saunders was the sexton of Epiphany Church. He was a Civil War veteran. During the rectorship of William Paret, Saunders was baptized and confirmed at Epiphany. Following Saunders’ death, a funeral service was held in the church with nearly a thousand people in attendance. The September 1914 issue of the Parish Guide provided the following description of the funeral.

 

James Saunders, Sexton Emeritus

On Thursday, July 16th, the funeral of this highly esteemed and beloved old sexton took place at 2pm in the Church. The Rector [the Rev. Randolph McKim] was present and delivered a short memorial address. With him in the Chancel were the Rev. G. Freeland Peter, the Rev. Charles F. Edwards, the Rev. Gilbert F. Williams, the Rev. James Macbride Sterrett, D.D., the Rev. Thomas Alexander Johnstone, and the Rev. E.M. Mott. In the congregation was the Rev. David Barr. All but one of these had been assistant ministers in the Parish. The Vestry acted as honorary pallbearers. The music was feelingly rendered by a large vested choir, Mr. McChord officiating at the organ. James’ favorite hymns were sung. The middle aisle of the Church was filled by the colored people and the family and friends of the deceased. The side aisles were also well filled with the members of Epiphany congregation, who came to pay their last tribute of respect and affection to dear old James. After forty-one years of faithful service he entered into his rest at the age of 74. One of the clergy remarked that it was the most impressive funeral service he had ever attended. The casket was covered with an American flag. Lincoln Camp G.A.R., attended in a body, and the Chapter of the Masonic Lodge, of which he was a member, paid personal tribute.

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