John Lenthall and his father shared two things. They both had the same name and also shared the same profession – architect. The elder Lenthall had immigrated to the United States from England in 1793 and worked as Clerk of the Works at the U.S. Capitol under architect Benjamin Latrobe. Lenthall was killed in a construction accident in the building’s north wing in 1808. His son was just one year old. The younger Lenthall began his career in 1823, when as a teenager he was employed at the Washington Navy Yard. He learned the trade of ship carpenter and received training by visiting shipyards in several European countries. Lenthall went on to become an important shipbuilder and naval architect. In 1853, he handled the reconstruction of the sailing frigate USS Constellation, which is anchored today in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
The Lenthall family had close associations with Epiphany since the church’s founding. The elder John Lenthall and his wife, Jane, had three children. The oldest child, Mary, was Epiphany’s first Sunday school teacher and also the first organist. The second child, Elizabeth, married William J. Stone, a local engraver. In 1883, Elizabeth Stone gave money and land to Epiphany for the establishment of a home for widows, which would be named for her father (Lenthall Home for Widows). The third child, John, is the subject of this entry. The funerals of all three children took place at Epiphany before their interment in the family plot at Rock Creek Cemetery.