Celebrating 175

April 19: Parish Symbol (1965)

On the front of the Easter Day 1965 bulletin, the Church of the Epiphany introduced a new symbol for the parish. Rector Edgar Romig gave the following description, “The new symbol of our parish appears here for the first time. It was designed by the Rev. Dr. Edward N. West, Canon Sacrist of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City. The large cross, which includes four smaller crosses, is called an “epiphany cross” because, like the love of Christ in the world, it reaches to the four points of the compass. The stars appear in the coat of arms of President Washington and in the seal of the Diocese. The walled crown, also included in the diocesan seal, is a symbol of this capital city. We are extremely grateful to Canon West for his fine gift to us.”

Canon Edward West was an authority on liturgical art. In addition to Epiphany’s symbol, he created the official emblem of the worldwide Anglican Communion, designed the coat of arms for the Diocese of Albany, as well as Episcopal rings, stained glass windows, altar frontals, processional crosses and religious vestments. Born in Boston, he graduated from Boston University in 1931. He was ordained a deacon in 1934 following his graduation from the General Theological Seminary and was ordained a priest in 1935. He served as curate and later as rector of Trinity Church in Ossining, N.Y., and later became the sacrist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

< Previous     Next >

April 18: Zachariah Deminieu Blackistone, Jr. (1982)

Upon the death of Zachariah “Zeddie” Blackistone in 1982 at age 111, The Washington Post concluded an editorial on him with this, “After all this time, it is an understatement, of course, to say that Mr. Blackistone will be missed in this town. But the countless pleasant memories he brought to so many will be remembered with lasting appreciation.” Blackistone was a descendant of a family that arrived with the first English settlers in St. Mary’s County, Maryland in 1634. He was born at Charlotte Hall, MD and while a youth, his mother urged him to take a riverboat to Washington and obtain a government job. While looking for work at the old Central Market in downtown Washington, he met Madame de Wattville, the name of an exquisite rose. Blackistone was so enthralled with the beauty of the flower that he made the decision on the spot to become a florist.

In 1898, with $10, Blackistone rented a store on F Street for his florist business and afterwards expanded to other locations. Mr. Blackistone worked seven days a week, except when he was out of town until 1976, when he moved into a retirement home. In an interview with The Washington Post in 1952, Blackistone said, “The sentiment of flowers is what makes them unique. They say more and mean more than anything else in the world.” Blackistone reported to work every day at 7:30am, except on Sundays when he could be found at Epiphany’s 8:00am worship service. For his 105th birthday, Epiphany’s choir did a special presentation of Haydn’s Creation in honor of the church’s senior communicant. Following his death, Zachariah Blackistone’s funeral was held at Epiphany before his interment at Rock Creek Cemetery.

< Previous     Next >

April 17: James Remington Fairlamb (1908)

A native of Philadelphia, James Remington Fairlamb received his first musical instruction at the hands of his mother. Although he was exceedingly fond of his music, while very young he was more fond of “dreaming” than of “practicing” at the piano. But at the age of twelve the boy came across a copy of Spohr’s oratorio ”The Last Judgment,” which seems to have satisfied his craving and shaped his career. When fourteen years of age he obtained a position as organist of the Western Methodist Church, the first of its denomination in Philadelphia to obtain an organ. He afterwards filled the same position in the Tabernacle Baptist Church and succeeded one of the best church musicians of that city as organist and choirmaster of the Clinton Street Presbyterian Church. At age 20 Mr. Fairlamb went to Europe and studied first in Paris and later continued his studies in Florence Italy.

Returning to America at the outbreak of the Civil War, and being incapacitated for military service by defective eyesight, Mr. Fairlamb accepted the position of Musical Director at the Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. While there, he met and married Marian Kerr Higgins, the daughter of Epiphany’s senior warden. One of the Fairlamb’s children, Louis, was baptized at Epiphany in 1877. Fairlamb enjoyed the acquaintance of many notable people, including President and Mrs. Lincoln. Being appointed United States consul at Zurich in Switzerland by Mr. Lincoln, he returned to Europe and remained there four years. His compositions number about two hundred in all. His music is distinguishable by dramatic intensity and orchestral ideas.

April 16: Lincoln Assassination (Easter Sunday 1865)

The Rev. Charles H. Hall (Epiphany’s Rector) Like many preachers throughout the country, Hall’s 1865 Easter sermon had to be replaced at the last moment. The first and last paragraphs of Hall’s discourse, “A Mournful Easter” appear below. On the following Wednesday, Hall was one of four Washington clergy to lead Lincoln’s White House funeral.

“The words of the Burial service are the appropriate words of this troubled Easter morning. We had prepared to leave behind us the gloomier thoughts of the tomb, and decking it, as it were, with flowers and palm branches, to gaze with serene eye steadfastly on the glorious morning of the Resurrection; to forget for a while the instinctive repugnance of the human heart at the short interval of the grave; to look beyond it to the abodes of our expected reward, where tears shall be wiped from all eyes, and the disquieting fears which beset us here in the world of chances and changes would give way to eternal repose and joy. But we are called in the providence of God to look more at the sorrows than the joys that surround the Christian’s hope; to weep with those who weep rather than dwell upon the topics of our exulting hope.”

“May God give comfort to the afflicted families, whose losses will make Good Friday memorable in our national records. May He give repentance to the wretched criminals who have stained their hands, wantonly and stupidly in innocent blood, before they are called upon to meet the just punishment of their atrocities. May He give us grace to understand the seriousness and solemnity of our duties to the government over us; and as He only can, bring good out of this evil.”

< Previous

April 15: Lincoln Assassination (Holy Saturday 1865)

Montgomery Meigs (U.S. Army Quartermaster General) took control of mass hysteria outside of Ford’s Theatre and controlled admittance to Petersen House

Dr. Robert K. Stone (Lincoln family physician) along with Dr. Barnes, took control of Lincoln’s medical care

Dr. Joseph K. Barnes (U.S. Army Surgeon General) worked with Dr. Stone on Lincoln’s care; pronounced Lincoln dead at 7:22am

Edwin Stanton (Secretary of War) – sets up command at Petersen House to secure the city and find the perpetrators; at Lincoln’s death, Stanton says “Now he belongs to the ages.”

Mary Cogswell Kinney (friend of Mary Todd Lincoln) kept watch with Mrs. Lincoln at Petersen House and accompanied her back to the White House after Lincoln’s death

The Church (1317 G St., NW) around 9am, the hearse bearing Lincoln’s body from Petersen House to the White House passed by the Church of the Epiphany

Dr. J.J. Woodward (U.S. Army surgeon) around noon, one of six doctors that perform the autopsy on Lincoln’s body; at Mrs. Lincoln’s request, retrieves a lock of the president’s hair

Joseph Bell Alexander (undertaker) after Lincoln’s death, embalmed the body and prepared it for its long journey home

Edward Townsend (U.S. Army Adjutant General) acted as the military escort for Lincoln’s body until his burial in Springfield, Illinois

< Previous     Next >

April 14: Lincoln Assassination (Good Friday 1865)

For only the seventh time since 1865, the dates of Holy Week 2017 are the same as they were when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Listed below are Epiphany parishioners and their connections with the last days of Holy Week 1865.

Hugh McCulloch (Secretary of the Treasury) attended a cabinet meeting at 11am; McCulloch later remarked, “I never saw Mr. Lincoln so cheerful and happy.”

Vinnie Ream (young, aspiring sculptor who was befriended by Lincoln) perhaps would have been present sketching Lincoln; later created memorial statue in U.S. Capitol rotunda

Margaret R. Stone (wife of Lincoln family physician, Dr. Robert King Stone) on April 14, Lincoln wrote a pass for Margaret, a friend and an escort to travel to Richmond, VA.

Joseph S. Sessford (Ford’s Theatre staff) working in the box office on the night of April 14.

Joseph B. Stewart (theatre attendee) sitting in front row; after hearing shot and seeing Booth jump, pursued him across the stage, yelling “Stop that man!”

Dr. AKA King (U.S. Army physician; theatre attendee) one of the doctors in the theatre that attended to Lincoln; helped carry the president across the street to Petersen House

Dr. Tullio Verdi (Sec. of State Steward’s personal physician) tended to Steward’s serious, but non life-threatening wounds after coordinated attack on several government officials

Benjamin West (young boy who lived in a house across alley from Ford’s Theatre) saw Booth exit the theatre after shooting; provided officers with one of first clues to finding him.

< Previous     Next >

April 13: Mary Ann Kendall Greene (1875)

Mary Ann Kendall was the first child of Amos and Mary Woolfolk Kendall. Amos Kendall was an influential journalist and politician whose writings and support of Andrew Jackson helped raise the Democratic Party to the national stage. Kendall contributed to newspapers, served as Jackson’s postmaster general, and was one of Jackson’s “Kitchen Cabinet” of personal advisers. Kendall’s investment in Samuel Morse’s telegraph made him a wealthy man. Kendall donated land to provide a home for the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb (today’s Gallaudet University) and persuaded Congress to charter the new institution. He also contributed significantly to the construction of Calvary Baptist Church, in downtown Washington.

Mary Ann Kendall married Daniel Gold, the chief clerk in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. The Golds had two sons, one of which (William Jason Gold) became an Episcopal priest and seminary professor and was featured in this series on January 13. After Daniel Gold’s death, his will provided for his sons’ education, both of which graduated from Harvard. Mary Ann later married Joseph Greene. Three of Mary Ann Kendall Greene’s children were baptized at Epiphany within a matter of months in the midst of the Civil War. The Greenes traveled abroad after the Civil War as Joseph took a foreign service post. Mary Ann was troubled by constant respiratory distress, which may have been untreated tuberculosis, and the Greenes later moved west in search of a healthier climate. They eventually settled in Faribault, Minnesota, where Mary Ann died and is buried.

< Previous     Next >

April 12: William Marsh (1912)

The accompanying photograph of Abraham Lincoln was taken in May 1860, just two days after Lincoln won his party’s nomination for the presidency. A New Jersey convention delegate was visiting Lincoln in Springfield, IL and asked for a photograph. Lincoln replied he didn’t have a satisfactory one, but “we will walk out together and I will sit for one.” At fifty-one years old, Lincoln appears much younger in this photograph and innocent of the great toll the presidency would take on him. The local photographer was William Marsh. In the 1860 census, Marsh’s occupation is listed as “artist.” Photographers often described themselves as “artists” at the time. Marsh specialized in ambrotypes, a photograph which produces a positive image on a sheet of glass.

William Marsh’s life journey took many twists and turns. He was born in England and pursued a career in the railway industry before immigrating to the U.S. with his new bride in 1855. First they settled in Kansas where William managed a large landed estate for an English gentleman. When that agreement expired, the couple moved to Springfield, IL where William began working in the grain trade. Through some political articles he wrote, he became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln. Mrs. Marsh taught music to the Lincoln children and Lincoln was a frequent guest in the Marsh home. Once in Washington, Lincoln secured a clerk position for William at the Census Bureau. The Marshes first son was born shortly thereafter and on December 24, 1861, Lincoln Marsh was baptized at the Church of the Epiphany.

< Previous     Next >

April 11: John Lenthall (1882)

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.

< Previous     Next >

April 10: Thomas Hart Benton (1858)

When Missouri entered the Union in 1820, Thomas Hart Benton became one of the state’s first two senators. He was the first U.S. Senator to serve for five terms (30 years). He is one of Missouri’s two statues in the National Statuary Collection in the U.S. Capitol. He is one of eight senators featured in John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage. He became a leading proponent of westward expansion in the new nation, dubbed by a journalist as “Manifest Destiny.” Seven states have a Benton County named for THB. The county seat of Arkansas’ Benton County is Bentonville, also named for Benton and the headquarters of Walmart. Over the years, Benton had favored slavery, but had gradually come to favor abolition. His opposition to the Compromise of 1850 cost him his Senate seat.

It’s anyone’s guess how Benton came to be associated with Epiphany and even how closely he was affiliated. Many biographical sources indicate he was Presbyterian. Benton had been in the Senate for 20 years by the time Epiphany was founded. His introduction to the parish may have come through a Georgetown school his daughter attended. Epiphany’s first rector and his wife both had connections there. Perhaps it was through a fellow Senator as there were several in Epiphany’s early history. The first evidence of the Benton family in Epiphany’s records is the marriage of the senator’s eldest daughter in 1847. Altogether, parish records include the marriages of two daughters, the baptisms of eight grandchildren, and finally the Washington funeral of Benton and his grandson, who died a day apart.

< Previous      Next >