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St. Paul's Episcopal Church, La Porte
St. Paul’s is the third oldest Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Northern Indiana, incorporated on St. James Day, July 25, 1839, shortly after St. Paul’s in Mishawaka, 1837, and Trinity in Michigan City, 1838. However, the history of Episcopalians in La Porte can be traced back at least as far as 1835, when visiting clergy conducted services in town. In August 1837, the Missionary Bishop of Indiana, the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, made his first visit to La Porte and recorded in his diary the baptism of “Dr. Rose’s sick child at home on August 15, 1837, prior to the evening service in the Court House.” The first recorded baptism was that of two-year-old Thomas Lafayette Johnson on November 24, 1838. The Rev. Daniel V. M. Johnson of Michigan City also conducted services before the parish was organized.
St. Paul's first rector was the Rev. Solon Manney, who served the parish for ten years, during which time he began a parochial school where “common and high English, Latin, and Greek were taught.” He also served as head of La Porte University, from which the Mayo brothers graduated before moving to Rochester, Minnesota, and founding the Mayo Clinic. After leaving La Porte, Manney founded what is now Seabury Western Seminary.
Early in the 1840s the southeast corner of Indiana and Maple Avenue was purchased for a church site. However, the property was later exchanged for the present location and “fifty dollars, half in cash and the balance in hewed timbers suitable for the church frame.” The first church building was constructed in 1846 and consecrated by Bishop Kemper on March 2, 1848. Before this time, a member of the congregation said her father “had hauled the benches to and from the places of worship.”
The present Indiana limestone building, an example of English Gothic architecture designed by Fort Wayne architects John F. Wing and Marshall S, Mahurin, was built in 1897 and consecrated in 1898. A local newspaper editor called it “the most imposing church building in La Porte if not in northern Indiana.” The church contained an 1872 organ built by Steer & Turner, which was restored in 1979. More recently, in 2009, an anonymous gift of $60,000 by a parishioner made it possible to renovate the exterior of the building.
In 1954 a $1,000 gift started a fund for a new Parish House, which was completed in 1957. In 1959 a new heating system was installed. The present building was built for $92,000 with only $20,000 remaining to be paid five years later.The two priests who served St. Paul’s the longest are the Rev. George Childs from 1927-49 and the Rev. B. Linford Eyrick from 1956-92.
In 1963 the church sanctuary and nave were remodeled, including new altar, new pews, and new floor. On Tuesday, January 15, 1963, the new altar was consecrated and blessed by Bishop Mallett. The top of the altar is a piece of golden marble mined in the Holy Land; the fifteen foot crucifix is made of white oak and carved limba wood; the tabernacle is bronze and oak, flanked by eight bronze candlesticks. The original sanctuary light has since been replaced. New faceted glass windows were dedicated on May 3, 1963, three of which were given in memory of the Rev. George J. Childs, former rector. The windows depict the four evangelists, St. Paul, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the sacraments, and the corporal works of mercy.From St. Paul's website: http://stpaulslaporte.org/history/
The ministry of the Rev. B. Linford Eyrick spanned from 1956 to 1992 and was the most consequential. He came to La Porte after serving as rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Hoosick Falls, New York. He had attended the Hoosac School and Hobart College, and received his seminary training at General Theological Seminary with his degree in 1948. Once in La Porte, he baptized much of the Baby Boom generation of the parish, served several diocesan offices, and was a respected leader in the community. When he arrived, his wife Winnie suggested that the parish open a pre-school, which ran successfully for the next 66 years before eventually closing in 2019. Eyrick died in 1995, three years after his retirement.
In later years the church was served by the Rev. Richard Alford, who left the Episcopal Church for the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as the Rev. Glenn Kanestrom, the Rev. Jamie Jones, the Rev. Anthony Clavier, the Rev. Thomas Kincaid, the Rev. Paul Nesta, and most recently, the Rev. Cn. Michelle Walker, who divides her time as priest-in-charge with being a diocesan missioner for Bishop Douglas Sparks.
Daniel Van Mater Johnson, 1838-1839
Solon Wines Manney, 1839-1849
Hiram M. Roberts, 1851
Franklin Reeve Haff, 1852
Walter Emlen Franklin, 1854-1856
Almon Gregory, 1856-1861
Addis Emmett Bishop, 1862-1864
James Hervey Lee, 1864-1867
Frank Mark Gregg, 1867-1869
George John Magill, 1869-1875
Walter Scott, 1872-1873
Charles Thompson Coerr, 1875
James Taylor Chambers, 1875-1877
Andrew Mackie, 1877-1878
James Langhorne Boxer, 1879-1881
Rush Spencer Eastman, 1883-1886
Walter Scott, 1886-1894
Asa Appleton Abbott, 1894-1895
Thomas Bennington Barlow, 1895-1899
Edward Lemuel Roland Jr., 1899-1902
Addison Alvord Ewing, 1902-1904
Joseph Cooper Hall, 1904-1905
Arthur Edgar Gorter, 1906-1908
Lawrence Southworth Kent, 1908-1910
Daniel Le Baron Goodwin, 1911-1917
Francis John Edmund Barwell-Walker, 1918-1927
George Jay Childs, 1927-1948
Eric F. Pearson, 1949-1951
Robert Frank Royster, 1952-1956
Benjamin Linford Eyrick, 1956-1992
Richard Alford, 1992-1995
Glenn W. Kanestrom, 1997-2002
James Place "Jamie" Jones, 2002-2008
Anthony F. M. Clavier, 2008-2011
S. Thomas Kincaid, 2012-2015
Paul A. Nesta, 2015-2018
John Houghton, 2019-2020 (interim)
Michelle I. Walker, 2020-
Parish Register 1838-1865
Parish Register, 1838-1910
Parish Register, 1911-1939
Parish Register C, Baptisms Confirmations, and Burials, 1940-1979
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St. Thomas-Santo Tomas Episcopal Church, Plymouth
In October 1856, the Rev. Almon Gregory, rector of St. Paul's, La Porte, arrived in Plymouth and began conducting "house services" as an Episcopal missionary. He led the first service on 19 December 1856, when fourteen people gathered in the Presbyterian Church for a sermon. He promised to return once a fortnight, holding later services at the home of Joseph Westervelt. This first congregation was still not formally organized and had no lay leadership. Bishop George Upfold visited the town in 1858, 1860, and 1861, confirming several persons and encouraging Gregory's efforts. On 23 March 1861, the congregation finally organized officially as St. Thomas Episcopal Church with the election of Gilson L. Cleveland and A. O. Packard as wardens, and Charles Palmer, Thomas McDonald, and John G. Osborne as vestrymen. Other early leaders included Mrs. Sarah Westervelt and John C. Cushman.
During these formative years the congregation gained the support of Henry C. Carter of New York City, who donated a lot on Center Street for the building of a chapel in May 1860. The vestry raised funds to build the small frame church at a cost of $10,000. The first Eucharist was celebrated on 27 June 1860 in the Presbyterian Church; the second was held in November 1860 and the third, the first in the new chapel, was celebrated by Gregory on 3 April 1861. The Rev. Louis Tschiffely arrived in October 1861 and became the parish's first resident priest. Through his efforts, he secured from Henry Carter a donation of the church's first communion set. By 1865, 73 families attended.
The parish struggled to find permanence in the years following the Civil War. Both Episcopal clergy and adequate funding were in short supply. Between 1865 and 1870, the Rev. William Lusk, a Presbyterian minister, supplied the parish and performed baptisms and marriages, but he was not able to celebrate the Eucharist. After his departure the parish called several priests who stayed only for a few years. In 1877 the Rev. John Jacob Faude arrived in Plymouth, and under his able leadership the parish built a rectory at a cost of $3,500 in 1881. For several years Faude conducted services at both Michigan City and Plymouth before resigning the Plymouth charge and moving to Michigan City to become its rector, remaining there until 1890 and returning to Plymouth for a brief stint between 1889 and 1890.
Services continued in the chapel until 1905, when the congregation outgrew it. During the tenure of the Rev. Walter S. Howard (formerly dean of the cathedral at Michigan City), the parish built a new edifice of Indiana limestone designed by local architect Jacob Ness and located on the southern part of the lot at the corner of Adams and Center streets. Bishop White consecrated it on St. Thomas Day, 21 December 1909. A few years later the old church was moved and remodeled into a parish hall. Among the priests who served during these years was the Rev. Benjamin F. P. Ivins, who later became Bishop of Milwaukee.
After World War II, the congregation suffered financially, and the building fell into poor repair. The Rev. William Cordick, who had become rector in 1916, retired in 1940 after a 24-year rectorate. After several pastors served short tenures, Bishop Reginald Mallett ordered the Rev. William Sheridan, then at St. Paul's Gas City, to become rector in 1947. It marked the beginning of a 25-year pastorate, during which the parish grew and gained distinction. The building was extensively restored under his leadership. Sheridan also became chaplain of nearby Culver Military Academy. He remained rector until he was elected bishop in 1972, the first bishop chosen among the priests of the diocese. After his retirement, he returned to Plymouth and became a member of the congregation. In the 1990s under the leadership of the Rev. John Schramm, St. Thomas developed a strong ministry with the local Hispanic community and began offering Spanish-language services. Schramm also led several mission trips to Honduras in the 1990s to build churches and do community work. Later, under the rectorship of the Rev. Thomas Haynes, the parish became known under the dual name of St. Thomas-Santo Tomas to better reflect the diversity of the congregation.
Almon Gregory, 1856-1861
Louis Phillippe Tschiffely, 1861-1865
Richard Leo Ganter, 1865
William Lusk, 1865-1870 (Presbyterian supply)
John Portmess, 1870-1871
Samuel Johnson Yundt, 1872-1873
James N. Hume, 1874-1875
Andrew Mackie, 1876-1877
John Jacob Faude, 1877-1886
Thomas Byron Kemp, 1886-1889
John Jacob Faude, 1889-1890
William Wirt Raymond, 1891-1902
Walter Simon Howard, 1902-1910
Benjamin Franklin Price Ivins, 1910-1913
Samuel Winfield Day, 1913-1916
William John Cordick, 1916-1936
Charles Delano Maddox, 1936-1939
Edward Lemuel Roland - 1939-1941
George G. Shilling, 1941-1943
J. Bradford Pengelly (supply), 1944-1945
James Savoy, 1946-1947
William Cockburn Russell Sheridan, 1947-1972
James Gossett Greer, 1972-1976
Gregory Brian Sims, 1976-1981
John Schramm, 1982-2013
Thomas Erskine Haynes, 2013-2019
Bernadette Hartsough, 2020-
Marshall County Historical Society, History of Marshall County, Indiana (Plymouth: Marshall County Historical Society, 1986), p. 27.
First Book, 1857-1871: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, Confirmations, Visitations, History, Sponsors
Book 2, 1872-1890, History, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Burials
Book 3, 1892-1910, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Burials
Book 4, 1909-1956, Communicants, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Burials
Book 5 [marked as Book 1], 1956-1977, Communicants, Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, Confirmations, Index
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Church of the Holy Trinity, Peru (defunct)
On 2 May 1843, Bishop Jackson Kemper held the first Episcopal service in Peru, the county seat of Miami County. The first Episcopal Church was organized two years later and was named St. James, with the earliest baptismal records dating from August 1845 in Kemper's handwriting. The Rev. H. L. Laird of Logansport assisted with the organization and conducted occasional services. Under the leadership of the Rev. Fortune C. Brown, a High Churchman who arrived in 1846, the church held regular services above the store rooms of a local building. "He came here an utter stranger," parishioner John Mitchell wrote in 1895, "and by his Christian character exemplified in his daily walk, endeared himself to the citizens. Under his care the church flourished, and numbers of persons who had never witnessed the worship of the Episcopal Church became attached to its services."
Brown began competing with the Presbyterian Church for members, which drew the ire of its pastor, the Rev. Asa Johnson. Complaining in 1846, Johnson wrote of Brown, "He is very bold and arrogant in his claims...He has been round among my members & given them tracts & told them they do not belong to the church." In another report, he said, "The Episcopalians are making great efforts...They are a mischievous people." However, Brown left for New York in 1850, and the church declined, much to Johnson's delight. By 1854, after several attempts by H. J. Rees, an unordained lay reader, and several missionary clergy who spent brief periods in Peru, the congregation was abandoned. No baptisms occurred between December 1854 and October 1860, when Bishop Upfold recorded a single baptism while passing through town.
In 1870, through the efforts of Bishop Coadjutor Joseph Talbot, services resumed under the leadership of the Rev. Warren N. Dunham in the second floor rooms of a building at the northwest corner of Main and Broadway (the Rev. Edward J. Purdy of Logansport also conducting some services). Within a short time under Dunham's leadership, the congregation grew to 44 members. On December 9 of that year, a newly-reconstituted congregation formed under the name Trinity Episcopal Church, and on 19 September 1871, its leaders laid the cornerstone for a new church, a wood-frame building under a design by C.C. Haight of New York City. In 1872, the congregation dedicated the completed building and its "fine stained glass windows" that were memorials to Bishops Kemper, Upfold, and Brownell. A guild hall, financed by the church women, was completed in 1897 under the leadership of the Rev. Edward Averill. Averill, a strong Anglo-Catholic, introduced vestments at Mass and a vested boys' choir. He left to assume the rectorship of Trinity Fort Wayne in 1904.
Sixteen years later in 1913, the congregation erected a Gothic Revival building of brick designed by William A. Otis of Chicago and located at 34 West Main Street. Leading the drive was the Rev. John Hamilton. During the construction, the town suffered significant spring flooding that greatly impeded the work until its completion in 1914. Cole Porter reputedly sang in the choir of the church, but his involvement is only a matter of tradition and not well documented. Other vaudeville stars reportedly attended the church during the time that Peru served as winter quarters for several circuses. In 1917, the parish received a $6,000 gift for a new parish house. On 6 January 1927, the vestry declared the parish to be free of debt
The congregation thrived for much of the first half of the twentieth century and became one of the most Anglo-Catholic parishes in the diocese. The parish maintained a reserved Blessed Sacrament before the time that it became widespread. It also celebrated weekly Mass. During World War II under the leadership of the Rev. Clarence C. Reimer, the parish established a warrior shrine in honor of the men of the parish serving. The parish was known under the name of Trinity until January 1961, when, at Bishop Mallett's urging, the name was changed to the Church of the Holy Trinity, ostensibly because of too many other churches called Trinity in the diocese.
According to a typescript parish history dated 1961, Holy Trinity's rector ministered to the large Bunker Hill Air Force base north of Peru, as well as to the city of Wabash fifteen miles away that did not have an Episcopal Church. The priests also served Greek and Ukrainian Orthodox churchmen in a spirit of ecumenism, with an icon of the Blessed Virgin hung the sacristy in reminder of that friendship. The church women organized the Circle of the Living Rosary of Our Lady and St. Dominic, which regularly prayed the rosary and hung a large wooden crucifix in the sanctuary. In 1957, the Rev. James Parker arrived from South Carolina, and the anonymous author of 1961 wrote in sanguine terms of the expectation that the parish "looks to a growth unequaled in the spread of the Faith" with a congregation "to whom the Catholic Religion is the very center of their lives."
Parker remained at Peru through 1966, but the expected growth never materialized. The Revs. Lewis Payne and Russell Northway followed as rectors through 1980, after which the parish experienced an economic downturn. The Rev. Richard Kennison led the restoration of the organ in 1986, but there was growing dissatisfaction within the congregation about the direction of the national church.
Holy Trinity's affiliation with the Episcopal Church ceased in the fall of 1990, when it voted to close due to recurring financial problems from withheld pledges. Average Sunday attendance went from 200 in 1959 to just 40 by 1990, and the building was in desperate need of maintenance. Many of its older members, coming from a strong Anglo-Catholic tradition, were upset by the ideological direction of the diocese, particularly with the ordination of women approved by Bishop Francis Gray, and adamantly opposed change.
Later in 1990, the congregation reconstituted itself and voted to join the Anglican Church in North America, a conservative group that opposed women's ordination and other reforms of the late twentieth century and preferred to use the 1928 prayerbook. The building was sold to the new church, and it is now known as the Anglican Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity. Records of this congregation when still affiliated with the Episcopal Church are housed in the diocesan archives.
John Mitchell, "The Episcopal Church, " in John H. Stephens, History of Miami County, Indiana, (1896) pp. 149-154.
Fortune Charles Brown, 1846-1850
Frederick Durbin Harriman, 1851
Henry Cook Stowell, 1854
Warren Nelson Dunham, 1870
Edward James Purdy, 1870
Warren Nelson Dunham, 1870-1873
John Henry Weddell, 1873-1875
Andrew Mackie, 1875-1877
David Lardner Trimble, 1877-1880
William Henry Milnes, 1881
Joseph Edward Martin, 1882-1884
William Black Burk, 1884-1887
Otway Colvin, 1889-1896
Edward Wilson Averill, 1897-1904
Adelbert McGinnis, 1904-1905
Jean Weslau Armstrong, 1905-1907
William Edward Morgan, 1907-1909
John Matthias Hamilton, 1910-1915
James Augustus Baynton, 1916-1918
George Harry Richardson, 1918
Edgar Thomson Pancoast, 1919-1922
Arthur Worger-Slade, 1923-1925
Jesse Raymond Lemert, 1926-1927
Warren C. Cable, 1927-1929
William Edward Hoffenbacher, 1930-1935
Richard Dawson Taylor, 1937-1942
Philip L. Shutt, 1942
Clarence Charles Reimer, 1943-1945
Frank Bozarth, 1946-1947
Daniel J. Welty, 1947-1952
Gail Colyer Brittain, 1952-1957
James Parker, 1957-1966
Lewis A. Payne, 1967-1975
Russell Northway, 1976-1980
Curtis Ross, 1980
George Porthen, 1983
Richard Kennison, 1984-1986
Lloyd W. Holifield, 1986-1990
History of Miami County, Indiana. Chicago: Brant and Fuller, 1887, p. 379.
St. James Episcopal Church, Parish Register, 1844-1860
Trinity Episcopal Church, Peru, Parish Register, 1872-1896
Trinity Episcopal Church, Peru, Parish Register, 1897-1949
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Peru, Parish Register, 1950-1962
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Peru, Parish Register, 1962-1989
Rev. Andrew Mackie
The Rev. Andrew Mackie was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on 21 February 1823, the son of Andrew and Mehitable Amelia (Bradford) Mackie. Through his mother he was a descendant of Gov. William Bradford of the Mayflower. He married Sarah Cowell in Rhode Island in 1848, and in 1853 took charge of the newly-organized St. Paul's Church in Newark. He served as rector of Trinity Church, Peru, Indiana, 1875 to 1877, and St. Paul's La Porte from 1877 to 1878. He died in office on 22 April 1878, with a memorial being read to the diocesan convention that year. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, New Bedford, Massachusetts, with his parents.