Celebrating 175

December 11: Allen Granberry Thurman (1895)

Allen Granberry Thurman was a Democratic Representative, Ohio Supreme Court justice, and Senator from Ohio. He was the Democratic Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1888. Thurman was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Mary Granberry Allen Thurman, a teacher, and Pleasant Thurman, a minister. In 1815 his parents freed their slaves and moved the family to Chillicothe, Ohio. Young Thurman read law primarily under the supervision of his uncle, William Allen. In 1835 he was admitted to the Ohio bar and became the law partner of his uncle, who soon entered the U.S. Senate. In 1844 Thurman married Mary Dun Tompkins. They had three children. When Thurman was elected to Congress in 1844, he became the youngest member of the House of Representatives. Thurman decided not to run for reelection, and returned to his private law practice. In 1851 he was appointed to the state supreme court and served for five years, one as chief justice, before returning to his law practice.

During the Civil War, Thurman supported the war effort, but encouraged political compromise and a peaceful settlement. During the Electoral College crisis of 1876, he helped forge the solution of creating a commission to resolve the controversy. Thurman was elected president pro tempore of the Senate before the Ohio legislature, now in Republican hands, replaced him with John Sherman in 1881. Ohio Democrats nominated him as a favorite-son candidate for president in 1876, 1880, and 1884. In 1888, Grover Cleveland chose the aging Thurman to be his vice-presidential running mate, hoping he would appeal to conservative Midwesterners. Thurman campaigned actively, but his obvious frailty provoked negative publicity. The Democratic ticket lost in the Electoral College. Thurman and his second wife Mary had three daughters. The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was married at Epiphany in 1873 with her parents and President Grant as witnesses.

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December 10: William Rich Hutton (1901)

William Rich Hutton was a surveyor and artist who became an architect and civil engineer in the latter half of the 19th century. Hutton was born in Washington, D.C. He was the eldest son of James Hutton and his wife, the former Salome Rich, sister of bibliographer Obadiah Rich and botanist and explorer William Rich. He studied mathematics, drawing and surveying in Alexandria, Virginia. Hutton traveled with his uncle William Rich to California in 1847 as a payroll clerk for the U.S. volunteer forces in the Mexican-American War. Hutton remained in California for six years before returning east in 1853. His diaries and drawings record his travel west via Panama and his six years in California, including a surveying expedition to Los Angeles in June 1849 with Lieutenant Edward O.C. Ord. Ord and Hutton mapped Los Angeles in July and August 1849. Ord surveyed the pueblo; Hutton sketched many scenes of the pueblo and drew the first map from Ord’s survey, recording street names in both Spanish and English for the first time.

Returning to Maryland, Hutton was an assistant engineer to General Montgomery Meigs on the Washington Aqueduct and Cabin John Bridge, succeeding Meigs as Chief Engineer. He later served as Chief Engineer for the Annapolis Water Works, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, and the Western Maryland Railroad. He played a significant role in the later years of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. He served as Chief Engineer from 1869-1871, and as a consulting engineer until 1880. Under him, the canal was widened to its full width, and had the banks augmented to resist flooding. Hutton and two of his sisters were confirmed at Epiphany in the first decade of the church’s existence. His sister Ellen was the church organist. Explorer William Rich, Hutton’s uncle (and the one for whom he was named) was buried from Epiphany in 1864.

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December 9: Jonas Pascal Keller (1871)

Jonas Pascal Keller was the long-time chief clerk of the Ordnance Department, a branch of the U.S. Army in charge of supplying soldiers with weapons and ammunition. During the Civil War, the Ordnance Department furnished 90 million pounds of lead, 13 million pounds of artillery projectiles, and 26 million pounds of powder for a Union Army of over one million soldiers. Keller was born in Bordeaux, France. Little is known about what brought him to America and how he gained employment with the army. An 1858 Congressional appropriation of $750 was made to Keller for his services “as a watchman or overseer of the executive building, at the corner of F and Seventeenth streets” from April 1848 to September 1850.

According to parish register entries, Keller first becomes associated with the Church of the Epiphany in 1851. He is perhaps with the Ordnance Department by this time as both the Chief and Assistant Chief of Ordnance were Epiphany parishioners. In 1851, Keller’s third and fourth children, Charles and Felix, were baptized at the church. Within a year, Felix was buried from the church. Keller, his wife and older daughter were all confirmed at Epiphany. The marriage of this daughter and subsequent baptism of a grandson took place at the church during the Civil War. Following Keller’s death in December 1871, his funeral took place at Epiphany prior to his interment at Congressional Cemetery. His tombstone (shown here) features a line from the hymn Rock of Ages – “In my hand no price I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.”

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December 8: Malbone Francis Watson (1891)

Malbone F. Watson was a U.S. Army officer who was brevetted Major for his service in the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Watson was badly wounded and lost his right leg. A day after his amputation, Watson sent a ragged note to his ordnance officer and closed with, “They got one of my pegs, but I did not peg out. Yours – ‘Peggy’.” From that point on, he was known as Peggy Watson. Malbone Francis Watson was the son of a prestigious Judge of the Supreme Court of New York. He had no trouble getting an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He graduated from the famous West Point class of 1861 with the May graduating class. Other classmates graduated in June of 61. Watson served in the First U.S. Cavalry before transferring to the Fifth U.S. Artillery. After his injury, Watson returned to West Point and taught French. He retired in 1870, became assistant engineer of New York City’s Department of Docks under Mayor George B. McClellan and then became the commissary officer of the Soldier’s Home in Dayton, Ohio in 1882.

Malbone Francis Watson and Mary Byvanck Codwise were married at the Church of the Epiphany on March 25, 1862. Mary and her family were parishioners there. She and her sister were confirmed at the church in 1860. Mary Watson’s funeral was at Epiphany in 1890. A year and a half later, Malbone “Peggy” Watson died of Bright’s disease. His funeral was at Epiphany before his interment in Oak Hill Cemetery.

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December 7: Beulah Burr Stelle (1851)

In her long 85-year life, Beulah Burr Stelle was associated with many of the early events and people of the new nation.  In 1789, when George Washington traveled from Mount Vernon to New York City for his first inauguration, he made triumphal stops at several cities along the way. As he crossed the bridge into Trenton, New Jersey, Beulah was one of several young women chosen to strew flowers in his path (see accompanying depiction by artist N.C. Wyeth). Beulah’s sister, Keziah, was married to New Jersey Governor Richard Howell. Beulah frequently assumed the social responsibilities at the Governor’s Mansion for her invalid sister. When Beulah’s family followed the new government to Washington, she and her husband operated a hotel on Capitol Hill, which was primarily for members of Congress. Vice President Aaron Burr was her cousin.  Reportedly, Beulah’s daughter, Elizabeth, was the first child born in the new nation’s capital. Beulah was a personal acquaintance of the Marquis de Lafayette. When the British attacked Washington during the War of 1812, Beulah Stelle personally appealed to the British military officials to save the home of a poor widow with children as well as her own. After much back and forth, the British agreed. The houses were marked with candles in the windows.

It is difficult to determine to what degree Beulah was associated with Epiphany. Several sources indicate she was a Quaker. Her second husband, Pontius, came from a long line of Episcopalians and was a member of the vestry of St. Michael’s Parish in Trenton. Only one of her eight children appears to be associated with Epiphany. The wedding of that son (Edward) in September 1842 is the second marriage listed in Epiphany’s register. Several of Beulah’s grandchildren were baptized and married at the church. Beulah’s Stelle’s funeral is listed in Epiphany’s register and took place at the residence of her son.

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December 6: Meeting of African-American Communicants (1866)

Following the Civil War, the Washington Episcopal churches set up a new convocation, which had the primary objective of helping to erect new churches for the growing city. The convocation had already taken steps to establish two new churches, St. Paul’s (1866) and Incarnation (1867). On December 6, 1866, a meeting of Epiphany’s African American communicants was the first step in the launching of a church specifically for blacks. Formally, the convocation became their sponsor and for several years served as a funnel for some financial assistance. Epiphany’s rector, Dr. Charles Hall (who was also dean of the convocation), was interested in the meetings of the group and frequently attended them. He led the devotions and advised the group on the formation of a separate congregation. The Rector of St. John’s, Dr. John Lewis, was brought into the conferences with the group. The acquisition of the first church building has been attributed to Dr. Hall. “I was in the office of the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton (one of Hall’s parishioners), when something led him to mention that there was a chapel attached to Kalorama Hospital (see attached photo), which was about to be taken down and sold for lumber. I asked him to give it to the colored people for a church. He was pleased with the suggestion and offered to have it taken down and rebuilt in the city.” A parishioner of St. John’s offered the use of a lot on 23rd between G and H Streets, N.W. for the relocation of the chapel.

In the new Negro chapel, known initially as St. Barnabas’ Mission but soon thereafter called “St. Mary’s Chapel for Colored People”, the first service was held on the second Sunday in June 1867, with both Dr. Hall and Dr. Lewis officiating. By then, the new body had twenty-nine members including some communicants from other churches who had joined with the nucleus from Epiphany. While beginning as a “non-affiliated mission,” the new chapel being within the metes and bounds of St. John’s came under its physical and spiritual jurisdiction rather than Epiphany’s, and at the outset had a lay reader from St. John’s in charge. But it never became completely attached to St. John’s, and as St. Mary’s it eventually would achieve separate status both as a church and as a parish. As Epiphany celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2017, St. Mary’s is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

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December 5: Jefferson Finis Davis (1889)

Editor’s Note: The inclusion of Jefferson Davis in this listing is in no way an endorsement of his political and social views.  His insertion here simply documents the fact that he was a parishioner of the church prior to the Civil War and helps to illustrate more fully the divergent group of people and experiences that have made Epiphany what it is today.

Jefferson Davis was a soldier, farmer, U.S. Representative and Senator, U.S. Secretary of War, and the only president of the Confederate States of America. His birth took place in Kentucky, just 100 miles from and eight months earlier than President Abraham Lincoln’s. Davis was named for Thomas Jefferson, whom Davis’ father greatly admired. His middle name, Latin for “end,” indicated his parent’s intent to make him the last of their ten children. Born into a military family, Davis’s father and uncles were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. His older brothers fought in the War of 1812. Davis was an 1828 graduate of West Point. In 1845, Mississippi sent Davis to the U.S. House of Representatives. His Congressional term was short. He resigned in June 1846 to fight in the Mexican War where he led his troops valiantly at the battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista. He was offered a promotion to brigadier general in 1847 but refused it when he was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1853, President Pierce appointed Davis U.S. Secretary of War where he served with distinction and was recognized as one of the most capable administrators to hold the office. In 1857, Davis returned to the Senate as a vocal proponent of states rights. He formally withdrew from the U.S. Senate on January 21, 1861 after Mississippi seceded from the Union. One month later, the Confederate Congress in Montgomery, Alabama selected Davis to become the President of the Confederacy.

Davis became associated with Epiphany when he first came to Washington to serve in Congress. Three of his children were baptized at the church – Margaret in 1855, Jefferson Jr. in 1857, and Joseph in 1860. Davis’ wife Varina was confirmed at the church in 1856. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis appointed Epiphany’s first rector, John French, to be chaplain and professor of ethics at West Point. Davis contributed toward the renovation and expansion of the church building in 1857. By a strange twist of fate, when Davis left Washington in 1861, his vacated pew at Epiphany was rented by Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.

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December 4: Henry Eveleth Maynadier (1868)

Henry Eveleth Maynadier was a 19th Century U.S. Army officer. Towards the end of the Civil War, Maynadier was made a brevet Brigadier General “for gallant and meritorious services during the rebellion, particularly during operations upon rebel forts on the Mississippi River” and a brevet Major General “for distinguished services on the frontier while operating against hostile Indians, and accomplishing much toward bringing about a peace with late hostile tribes.” In an 1866 report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., the following account is made of Maynadier’s efforts. “Col. Henry E. Maynadier commanded the Fifth U.S. Volunteers headquartered at Fort Laramie.  One of a small number of officers who empathized with the Indians, Maynadier was a good choice to accomplish the mission of bringing peace to the northern plains.  He knew the land—this was his sixth assignment in the West and his third in Sioux country (then called Idaho Territory, today Wyoming), which he had explored and surveyed for the Army before the Civil War.  He knew the Lakota people and had cultivated a good relationship with [Chief] Spotted Tail and his young daughter.  When the chief’s messenger arrived requesting burial at the fort for his daughter, Maynadier understood what was at stake.  Spotted Tail, he reported to his Washington superiors, ‘would never have confined the remains of his child to the care of one but those with whom he intended to be friends always.’”

Henry Maynadier was a native of Norfolk, Virginia and an 1851 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  He was the oldest child of William Murray Maynadier, U.S. Army Chief of Ordnance, who was stationed in Washington, D.C. most of his career. The elder Maynadier was an early lay leader at the Church of the Epiphany. Henry was associated with the church during the times he was stationed in Washington. The baptisms of his last two sons occurred at the church during the Civil War years. Henry was confirmed at the church following the war. A year and a half later, his funeral took place at Epiphany prior to his interment at Oak Hill Cemetery. A cross and crown adorns his headstone.

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December 3: Nation Wide Campaign (1919)

In the 2017 liturgical calendar, today (December 3) marks the first Sunday of Advent. The four Sundays prior to Christmas are observed as a time of preparation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus. The term advent is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming.” In Advent 1919, Epiphany and the broader Episcopal Church were involved in a Nation Wide Campaign for “the awakening of the Church and the revival of spiritual life, the development of a stronger and more loyal discipleship.” In November 1919, Epiphany’s vestry resolved, “the Wardens and Vestry of Epiphany Parish most heartily commend this project and plan to canvass every member of the parish, bespeaking their interest and co-operation in it to the extent of each one’s opportunity and ability, to the end that this parish may take a part in the beneficiary movement commensurate with its responsibility as one of the largest churches in the Diocese.” The goal was for Epiphany to give $20,412 per annum for three years, a staggering amount for that time. The money would be used for new churches, rectories, and hospitals. It would raise the salaries to clergy to at least $1,500 per annum. It would provide advances in religious education and social service as well as in missionary endeavor.

In the Advent issue of the Parish Guide newsletter, rector Randolph McKim laid out the Advent appeal for the Nation Wide Campaign. There would be a series of five evening services the first week of Advent. Service topics were to be: Monday – “Sin and Redemption,” Tuesday – “Perfect Remission and Forgiveness,” Wednesday – “Consecration and Sacrifice,” Thursday – “Stewardship,” and Friday – “The Great Commission.” Dr. McKim concluded, “I long to have you all with me at the Throne of Grace in the meetings appointed in the schedule for the week. We have no fear that Epiphany Parish will not rise to the height of this opportunity if the people catch the vision and feel the inspiration of the love of Christ.”

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December 2: Children’s Hospital (1870)

A bronze plaque with the following inscription is attached to a modern day office building at the corner of 13th and G Streets, N.W. “Here stood the first Children’s Hospital of Washington, D.C. Opened as a rented rowhouse in 1871, the hospital had a capacity of 12 beds and had only four doctors on staff. Now internationally recognized, Children’s National Medical Center is proud to have been a part of the D.C. community for more than a century.” On December 2, 1870, the “Children’s Hospital of the District of Columbia” was incorporated. The object stated was “to establish and maintain in the District of Columbia a hospital and dispensary for the gratuitous medical and surgical treatment of indigent children under the age of 12 years, without distinction of race, sex, or creed.” It was provided that sick children, whose parents or guardians were able to defray the expense of care may be admitted to the hospital a well. After the first location mentioned on the aforementioned plaque, a building with more ample accommodations was rented on E Street. The number of children seeking admission increased so rapidly that in 1875 the current site was purchased and has been the home of the hospital ever since.

It will come as no surprise that an outreach enterprise such as this with an initial location almost across the street, that people from Epiphany were involved in the hospital from the beginning. Dr. James Crowdhill Hall, described as “a skillful, conscientious, and benevolent physician, more willing to render service to the suffering poor that to receive remuneration,” was a member of the first board of directors and left a significant bequest to the hospital upon his death. Dr. Hall was buried from Epiphany in 1880. Joining Dr. Hall on the first board of directors were fellow parishioners General Edward Townsend and Lewis Davis, the latter being Epiphany’s Senior Warden at the time. By a gift of $100 each, parishioners John G. Parke, Sarah Coleman, and Margaret Coleman Freeman endowed a bed in the hospital for one year.

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