Celebrating 175

May 10: ZeBarney Thorne Phillips+ (1942)

Following his death on May 10, 1942, the funeral of the Very Rev. Dr. ZeBarney Phillips was conducted by the bishop of Washington at Washington Cathedral. During his 18 years in Washington, Dr. Phillips had served as rector of Epiphany Church, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, President of the House of Deputies and Dean of Washington Cathedral. It was in the latter role that he died. The Cathedral Choral Society, which he had helped to found, had been rehearsing for their inaugural performance. Their presentation of Verdi’s Requiem on the day of Dr. Phillip’s funeral was dedicated to him.

Dr. Phillips was a native of Ohio. He was educated at Wittenberg College and the General Theological Seminary. He also studied for two years at Oxford. Phillips was called as Epiphany’s ninth rector after serving parishes in Cincinnati, Chicago, and Philadelphia. His predecessor at Epiphany had been elected bishop of Washington. Phillips served as rector for 17 years. He was known as a compelling preacher, but also a loving friend and a wise and sympathetic counselor. A chapel in Epiphany’s west transept was created as a memorial. The only remnants of the chapel today are a wall plaque and the stained glass windows in that area. ZeBarney Phillips is buried in the crypt of Washington Cathedral. A memorial plaque in the adjoining  hallway concludes with the words, “An Inspired Voice in the Church of God, and a Leader in the Walks of Men.”

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May 9: Edward Davis Townsend (1893)

In his role as Adjutant General of the Army, Edward Townsend was the principal executive officer of the War Department. During the Civil War, he was in close contact with President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. It was Townsend who suggested a battlefield decoration for valor, which would eventually come to be the Congressional Medal of Honor. After Lincoln’s assassination, Townsend was chosen to represent the army at the slain president’s various funerals. After the war, Townsend supervised the compilation of the documents published as the War of the Rebellion: Official Records. Townsend was responsible for developing the plan for a United States military prison, resulting in the establishment of the prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

Edward Townsend was born in Boston. His maternal grandfather was Vice President Elbridge Gerry. After graduating from Boston Latin School, Townsend went on to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1837, ranking 16th in a class of 50. General Townsend spent most of the Civil War years stationed in Washington. The first record of him at Epiphany is the confirmation of his son in 1864. In total, three of his five children were confirmed, one was married, and two were buried from Epiphany. During the rectorship of William Paret, Townsend served on Epiphany’s vestry and was a sponsor at the baptisms of 24 non-family members, one of which was Surgeon General of the Army Joseph K. Barnes. The funerals of General Townsend as well as his wife, Anne, took place from Epiphany.

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May 8: Julius Erasmus Hilgard (1891)

Born in Germany, Julius E. Hilgard immigrated to America with his family when he was ten years old. His father had been Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals in Bavaria, but had become dissatisfied with political conditions in his native country. The family settled in Illinois where the father had purchased a farm. In addition to their farm chores, the children were home schooled in music, chemistry, ancient and modern languages and mathematics. Hilgard went to Philadelphia to study engineering and to obtain employment. At age 19, he sent a letter to the director of the U.S. Coast Survey, pointing out errors in the formulas used by the Survey to determine geographical positions, and attached his own corrected formulas. The impressed director responded with a job offer for Hilgard in Washington, D.C.

With only short interruptions, Hilgard continued in the service of the Coast Survey until his death. Throughout the Civil War, Hilgard served the Union army and navy with the construction of maps and charts. In 1878, Hilgard became superintendent of what had become known as the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. In his personal and social relations, Hilgard was noted for his geniality, an intense appreciation of art and literature and a sense of humor. Perhaps none of his personal traits were more pronounced than his generosity toward those in need, whether of substantial aid or advice and moral support. Hilgard and his wife were both confirmed, two of his children were buried and following his death on May 8, 1891, Julius Hilgard was buried from the Church of the Epiphany.

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May 7: John D. McCarty+ (1881)

The Rev. John D. McCarty was an Episcopal priest, military chaplain, missionary and church builder. A native of Rhinebeck, New York, McCarty served a brief stint in the U.S. Navy as a chaplain aboard the U.S.S. Constitution. After his priestly ordination, he began missionary work in western New York, founding and building a number of Episcopal churches. When the Mexican War broke out, McCarty enlisted in the U.S. Army as a brigade chaplain and was the only official chaplain at the front. He was deeply involved with the troops and did not hesitate to go into battle with them. McCarty didn’t agree with war, but as a chaplain he insisted that “when duty called, personal earnestness and bravery should be manifested in the chaplain as well as in the officers of the line.” General Winfield Scott called McCarty one of the bravest men in the Army.

McCarty was sent to the Pacific Northwest as a missionary. He served churches from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington. To make the trip each week, he had to use three ferries and walk over twenty miles through the wilderness. Sometimes the ferries that crossed smaller waterways didn’t run, so McCarty would have to wade through the cold waters to continue his journey. He was in his mid-fifties at the time. In late 1855, McCarty took an extended leave to travel back East. On March 4, 1856, the Rev. John McCarty D.D. and Lusanna Williams Stetson were married at the Church of the Epiphany in Washington. A month later, the couple headed to the Pacific Northwest for a new shared ministry.

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May 6: Edward Maynard (1891)

Edward Maynard was considered one of the leading scientists in the world during his lifetime. Many of his innovations in dentistry and firearms are still in use today. A native of Madison, New York, Maynard entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point but resigned due to ill health. He began studying dentistry and went on to become one of the most prominent dentists in the United States. Practicing in Washington, D.C., his clientele included the country’s political elite, including members of Congress, presidents, and foreign diplomats. Dr. Maynard declined an offer to serve as imperial dentist to Tsar Nicholas I. In 1857, he became professor of theory and practice in the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and subsequently filled a like role at the National University (later part of GWU) in Washington.

Edward Maynard was awarded 23 firearms-related patents during his life. In 1845, he invented a percussion priming system, which was later used to convert flintlock firearms. The U.S. government bought Maynard’s patent, called the Maynard tape primer, and equipped the military with new percussion priming pistols and rifles. Maynard invented a percussion breech-loading rifle, the Maynard rifle, in which the ammunition was loaded at the rear rather than from the muzzle. Maynard was married twice. Three of his daughters by his first wife were baptized at Epiphany on Christmas Day 1862. His second wife was baptized on Christmas Eve the following year. His 19-year old son and namesake was buried from Epiphany just after the Civil War ended.

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May 5: Bernard Francis Shinkman, III (2008)

From his time as a student at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, Bernard Francis Shinkman, III took the nickname “Buck” and that’s how he was known the rest of his life. The youngest child of Paul and Elizabeth Shinkman, Buck was a native Washingtonian. Following St. Mark’s, Buck went on to earn a B.A. at Dartmouth College. Often, a person’s tombstone can summarize their life’s accomplishments. The three things inscribed on Buck’s stone at Rock Creek Cemetery are: Diplomat – Veteran – Editor. As a diplomat, he was a press and cultural affairs officer with the U.S. State Department with assignments in Ghana, Serbia, London, Philippines, and Canada. As a veteran, he served in the Vietnam War, gaining the rank of lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. As an editor, Buck performed that role in London for Benn Brothers, his family’s publishing company.

Buck’s deep and abiding faith was exemplified in his connections with church activities wherever he was stationed, from the Episcopal Youth Group at Dartmouth to his ministries at Epiphany whenever he was in Washington. One additional inscription on Buck’s tombstone is the phrase, “Live to Ride.” Buck was a Harley-Davidson enthusiast for decades and raised thousands of dollars for the Muscular Dystrophy Association by asking colleagues to place bets on the last day of winter he would brave the cold to ride his cycle to work. After Buck’s passing on May 5, 2008, a memorial service was held at Epiphany at which time family, friends and colleagues gathered to remember a life well lived.

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May 4: First Female Priest to Celebrate the Eucharist (1975)

In the mid 1970’s, the Episcopal Church was embroiled in debate about the role of women in the church. Two irregular ordinations of women had taken place. The Diocese of Washington was involved in a church court case in which one of its clergy was charged with allowing an irregularly ordained woman to celebrate in his church. The 1976 General Convention finally voted to allow women to be ordained with the first regular ordination in the American church taking place on January 1, 1977.

In the Anglican Communion, the province of Hong Kong had begun ordaining women in 1971. The Rev. Jane Hwang was one of the early women ordained there. In May 1975, she had been invited by the Diocese of Southern Ohio to attend their centennial convention. After arriving in the United States, her first engagement was in Washington, D.C. at the Church of the Epiphany on Sunday, May 4. She was originally just scheduled to preach, but at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. William Creighton, bishop of Washington, she celebrated the Eucharist. Thus she became the first regularly ordained woman to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the Episcopal Church. In a speech during her visit to the U.S., Pastor Hwang stated, “If humanity is to be fully represented before God in the priesthood, it is logical to suppose that the ministry which is not limited to people of one tribe or race should not be limited to one sex.”

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May 3: Mary King Lenthall (1892)

There is a large portrait of Mary King Lenthall in Epiphany’s archives. An accompanying inscription reads, “Miss Lenthall was one of the oldest members of Epiphany Parish and connected with its Sunday school and other church work for nearly thirty years. In 1857, she organized the infant class as a separate school and it remained under her care until her resignation in 1871. This portrait is affectionately inscribed to her memory by some of her scholars, and others who assisted in her work, in grateful and devout recognition of her saintly and Christian instruction.” Mary Lenthall was the oldest child of John and Jane King Lenthall. Never married, she devoted nearly all of her life to church work. In addition to the infant class, Mary also had charge of a sewing school for mission work.

Mary Lenthall showed a decided talent for painting and drawing, as well as music. She served as Epiphany’s first organist. She was known to be a brilliant scholar. In later life she resented that she had not been given an education comparable to that received by the young men of her day. She was affectionately known by all as “Aunt Mary Lenthall.” Mothers brought their children to her “that they might come under the gracious influence of the gentle teacher.” She died on May 3, 1892, just months shy of her ninetieth birthday. After her funeral at Epiphany, Aunt Mary Lenthall was laid to rest in the family plot at Rock Creek Cemetery.

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May 2: +Alfred Harding (1923)

Alfred Harding was the second bishop of Washington, serving from 1909 until his death in 1923. He was born in Northern Ireland and came to the United States as a teenager when his parents settled in Brooklyn. He graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, CT and distinguished himself as class valedictorian and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After attending Berkeley Divinity School, Harding became a deacon in 1882 and a priest in 1883. He served parishes in Geneva, NY and Baltimore, MD before beginning a long tenure at St. Paul’s, K Street, Washington. When the new Diocese of Washington was created, Harding became the first secretary of the diocesan standing committee, a position he held until he was elected bishop.

The president of the diocesan standing committee at the time was Epiphany’s rector, Randolph McKim. McKim had been Harding’s main opponent for the bishop’s seat, just as he had been for Satterlee 12 years earlier. It would not be until the position came open a third time that an Epiphany rector (James Freeman) would become bishop of Washington. Bishop Harding’s first official visit to Epiphany came two months after his consecration when he confirmed 52 candidates on Palm Sunday 1909. Two years later, the bishop dedicated Epiphany’s new parish house. In 1922, Bishop Harding consecrated the McKim memorial tower and chime of bells.

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May 1: John Stone Paine (1859)

Jott Stone Paine was born in 1798 in Portland, Maine. Later in life, by an act of the Maine legislature, he officially changed his name to John Stone Paine. At age 15, Stone had entered the U.S. Navy as a midshipman, rising to the rank of lieutenant after 12 years and finally commander 16 years after that. Paine played a minor role in the famous 1840 Amistad case, which involved the rebellion of enslaved Africans aboard a Spanish schooner. President Van Buren ordered the USS Grampus (depicted here), then under Lt. Paine’s command, to New Haven, CT and gave secret orders that if the federal judge hearing the case ordered the rebellious slaves deported, they were to be hustled immediately on the Grampus to sail for Cuba before any appeal could be filed. Van Buren’s plot was foiled because the judge ruled that the Africans had been illegally enslaved and must be returned to Africa.

The 1845 marriage of John Stone Paine and Ruth Theodora Bomford is recorded in Epiphany’s register. The officiant for the ceremony was the Rev. John W. French, Epiphany’s founding rector. The Rev. Mr. French and the bride Ruth Bomford were cousins, their mothers being sisters. John Paine and Ruth Bomford’s marriage took place at Kalorama, the Bomford family estate in NW Washington. The couple’s first child, Clara Bomford Paine, was baptized at Epiphany in 1846.

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