July 16: John Joseph Pershing (1948)

The New York Times reported the 1905 marriage of John J. Pershing at Epiphany. “The marriage of Miss Frances Helen Warren, only daughter of Senator Warren of Wyoming, to Capt. John J. Pershing, United States Army, at the Church of the Epiphany today at noon filled that edifice with a distinguished company, including the President [Theodore Roosevelt] and Mrs. Roosevelt, the Chief of the General Staff of the Army, Lieut. Gen. Chaffee; the Cabinet and all official Washington, and nearly the entire body of the United States Senate, which, in compliment to the bride’s father, did not convene until one o’clock.” Pershing’s military career took him from his West Point graduation in 1882 to his command of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. Congress created a new rank for Pershing – “General of the Armies,” making him the highest-ranking military figure. His last request was that he be buried with the men he had fought beside, and that his grave be marked with the same white regulation tombstone marking their graves.

Pershing became an Episcopalian during his time as a military commander in the Philippines. He would frequently worship at Epiphany when in Washington. Following the end of World War I, General Pershing led a victory parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Epiphany’s Parish Guide newsletter described his attendance at church the preceding Sunday. “The congregation was much pleased to be able to welcome General Pershing and Mrs. Warren [mother-in-law] as our guests and fellow-worshippers. The national hymn and the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ were sung, and at the close of the service an impromptu and informal reception was given General Pershing, who was most gracious, cordial and unaffected in responding to every friendly and admiring greeting.”

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