Rev. Legh W. Applegate, missionary priest, Gary, Indiana1 media/Rev Leigh W Applegate of Gary_thumb.jpg 2019-11-19T07:53:44-08:00 John David Beatty 85388be94808daa88b6f1a0c89beb70cd0fac252 32716 2 Rev. Legh W. Applegate, missionary priest, Gary, Indiana plain 2020-10-15T13:45:33-07:00 John David Beatty 85388be94808daa88b6f1a0c89beb70cd0fac252
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St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Valparaiso
The Episcopal Church in Porter County has its roots in several small earlier congregations established in Valparaiso. On the Feast of the Epiphany 1861, an Episcopal missionary, the Rev. Edward P. Wright, rector of Trinity Michigan City, conducted the town's first Episcopal service in a rented hall. He maintained fortnightly services, and Bishop George Upfold organized this informal group into a congregation on 2 June 1861 as the Church of the Holy Communion. About 40 persons, including six communicants, gathered at these early services. Upfold expressed his hope that a church would take root here and at Warsaw, since both towns were on the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago Railroad line.
As the Civil War progressed, the congregation struggled to survive. In 1862, the departure of Wright from his post in Michigan City and the removal of a few key members of the congregation diminished its initial progress. Several deaths and other changes ended the fledgling congregation, and it was formally terminated by the Diocesan Council. Two prominent members, John C. Feebles, an attorney, and John C. Thompson, a merchant, along with their wives, had supported the congregation.
In 1863, a schism occurred among a group of German Lutherans in Valparaiso. Led by their pastor, the Rev. William Jahn, the congregation of more than 400 members left the Lutheran Church and formed German St. John's Episcopal Church, affiliating with the Episcopal Diocese of Indiana. Jahn, a native of Holstein, Germany, held worship services in German for 450 new members (including 230 communicants) in space rented from Valparaiso University. Bishop Upfold ordained him to both the diaconate and priesthood in two separate services in February 1864. The event was so novel that the editors of a national church publication, The Church Monthly, took note. Writing in April 1864, they observed: "Seeking our Communion as a refuge from rationalism and from an earnest conviction of its conformity with Scripture and primitive usage, we trust these new converts to Episcopacy from the land of Luther may be the earnest of a far greater ingathering." They added that the move "cannot fail of awakening a wide interest both in our own Church and in the Lutheran body."
After a momentous and unusual beginning, Jahn went west in September 1864 in order to visit potential donors and obtain funds for a church building. On the way he was shot in a guerilla raid while riding on the Northern Missouri Railroad. Bishop Upfold observed in his Council address in 1865 that the death "has filled my heart with grief and sadness, and with serious apprehension for the success of the enterprise so auspiciously begun..."
Efforts for a church continued in the wake of this tragedy, but Jahn's death had dealt it a severe blow. A new German-speaking missionary from Missouri, the Rev. Ignatius Koch, assumed leadership of German St. John's and reported to the diocesan convention that he had worked with both Lutherans and Episcopalians and had raised $540 for a church. He asked the diocese for $8,000 more to complete a church building. He noted in his report, "I visited all the Germans of Valparaiso and some in the country, introducing myself as their pastor to whose jurisdiction they belong through their Baptism, and invited them kindly to come forward for the union."
The money was not forthcoming, however, and the church failed to grow. Koch left for Pennsylvania, where he died in 1872. Bishop Coadjutor Joseph Talbot visited Valparaiso during the winter of 1866-67 and deemed it inadvisable to reorganize the congregation. By 1867, German St. John's had lost its affiliation with the diocese.
According to parishioner Claribel Dodd Smith, whose family moved from New England to Porter County, Episcopal services were held in private homes in Valparaiso in the 1890s. Whether members from the earlier congregations attended is not clear. Those services conducted in the home of James Wilson included use of a piano box for an altar and a gilded wooden cross. The missionary priest-in-charge at that time, the Irish-born Rev. George Moore of Momence, Illinois, would pick up worshipers in his sleigh for services in winter for services at the home of Mrs. J. Seymour Wilcox. Services were also held in larger venues in the 1890s, including Moltz’s jewelry store across from the Courthouse and at a later period above Wark's Hardware Store, but the congregation remained officially unorganized.
By 1900, this group of Episcopalians had grown, and the Annual Council of the new Diocese of Michigan City granted the congregation mission status under the name of St. Andrew’s, apparently after St. Andrew's Church in Chicago where two of its prominent members, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Parker, had been members. A church had the status of mission church if it depended on the diocese for some part of its funding.
According to a 1912 history of Porter County, Bishop John Hazen White was determined to plant a more permanent church in Valparaiso and enlisted the help of several lay leaders, including Charles H. Parker, J. Seymour Wilcox, A. W. Barnhart, M. A. Snider, J. C. Rock, and others in reorganizing the mission in a rented hall. The Rev. Legh W. Applegate became its first resident priest.
In 1902, under Applegate's leadership, the congregation built a wood frame church at 104 Erie Street in downtown Valparaiso for about $25,000, using a 50-year-old house as the base, which it moved to the site. It was 32 by 64 feet in size with a twelve foot square tower, dedicated on 6 July 1902. A major renovation in 1916 led to the removal of the tower's third story and changing the entrance from Franklin to Erie Street. A stained glass window was placed where the old entrance had been. Miss Kees was the first organist with a choir of 22 people.
Applegate moved on to establish Christ Church in Gary in 1907. A succession of rectors of short tenure followed, none of them staying long enough to strengthen the congregation. The Rev. Walter B. Williamson, who served from 1912 to 1916, added a stucco exterior finish and remodeled the rectory at a cost of $5,000. He also reached out to found a new mission at Hobart. St. Andrew's floundered financially, and in 1917, the Rev. Clinton Cromwell placed the mission under the spiritual care of Bishop White.
During the Great Depression, the task of finding permanent leadership for the mission proved challenging for White's successor, Bishop Campbell Gray. In 1939, a group of monks led by Dom Paul Severance from the Order of St. Benedict arrived from training in England and at Gray's urging, settled in a house in Valparaiso. Gray assigned them to serve St. Andrew’s as well as other parishes, and their work endeared them to the diocese. They left in 1946 when they built their own monastery in Three Rivers, Michigan. The diocese was enriched by having been the first home of the American Anglican Benedictines. During their tenure, the vicarage was renamed St. Gregory's House.
In 1946, the Rev. Samuel H. N. Elliott, a former Army chaplain of the 46th Quartermaster Group, arrived in Valparaiso and questioned why St. Andrew's had remained a mission for 46 years. He began an extensive renovation of the 1902 church, locating eight small stained glass windows being discarded by another church and purchased them for $100 each. Although members of the parish expressed initial dismay at the cost, they managed to raise the money for the installation. Several families contributed funds, as did the local Greek community and a group of local veterans. By 1948, the work had been completed and the windows installed. Elliott and a small group of parishioners did much of the restoration work themselves. The windows were later moved again and installed in the third church building in 2005. In 1950 under Elliott's leadership, the church marked its 50th anniversary, and a large celebration was held on St. Andrew’s Day (November 30).
Elliott and a group of parishioners began the work of establishing a new mission in nearby Hobart, but Elliott gave up those duties in 1948. Humbled by the accomplishment of spearheading a major renovation of St. Andrew's, he invited the diocese to hold its diocesan convention there in 1949, the first time a convention had been held in a mission church. By 1951, Elliott had become ill with alcoholism, and Bishop Mallett removed him from the rectorship. He later became sober and was an active member of the Recovered Alcoholic Clergy Association (RACA, serving a mission church in Salem, Illinois.
The Rev. Forrest B. Clark, a beloved rector of long tenure, arrived in February 1954 as priest-in-charge. A native of Crawford, Texas, he had trained for the priesthood at Seabury-Western and Nashotah House. He was soon after diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to recover his health at the veteran's hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. Bishop Mallett arranged for Father Langendorff to take charge of services until Clark could return, but he appears to have been worth the wait. Within two years of his arrival the membership grew 30 percent. Under his leadership the church was able to advance from mission to parish status in 1960 and become self-supporting. The old vicarage was refurbished into classrooms for what was called the Monday School. Clark also led the church in purchasing a property on Bull's Eye Lake Road for a possible future site of the church. Suffering from depression, Clark retired in 1969, but despite ill health, he agreed to serve again as a non-stipendiary priest from 1973 to 1977, seeing the congregation through a difficult time. His widow, Canon Kitty Clark, remained involved with St. Andrew’s many years afterward. In 1980, Bishop Sheridan dedicated the Forrest B. Clark Memorial Center at 104 Erie Street, which provided space for the church school and offices.
The Rev. Colin Mainer succeeded Clark, serving from 1968 to 1973. Mainer, a bachelor, proved unpopular, and some parishioners withdrew their funding for the church in protest to his leadership style. The financial crisis led the church to revert again to mission status, and after several years of difficulty, Bishop William Sheridan removed Mainer as rector, leading to Clark's return as a non-stipendiary supply priest. During this time some much-needed maintenance occurred with the replacement of badly-deteriorated window frames. The roof was replaced, and St. Gregory's House was demolished.
The Rev. Ross Mack succeeded Clark and served from 1977 to 1984. Mack began a long process of repairing old St. Andrew’s and oversaw the building of the attached Parish Center. In 1981, the Forrest B. Clark Center was constructed at a cost of $110,000, and in 1984, the mortgage on the church was burned. Mack resigned in 1984, but he later became a member of the congregation after retirement and continued to serve as a supply priest.
The Rev. Robert Bramlett followed Mack as rector in 1985 and served until 1990. During his tenure the windows underwent further restoration and the undercroft was extensively repaired.
Fr. Patrick Ormos (1991-2007) succeeded Bramlett and led the parish during a period of growth. During his tenure the congregation outgrew the church on Erie Street and moved to a new location on Bullseye Lake Road in 2005. That same year the parish purchased an 1889 Hook & Hastings organ, completely refurbished, that had formerly been installed in a Baptist church in Massachusetts. In 2010, the church called the Rev. Roger Bower as rector, and he served until 2022.
Adapted from St. Andrew's website: https://standrewsvalpo.org/who-we-are/history/
Parish Register 1893-1947
Edward Purdon Wright, 1861-1862
William Jahn, 1864
Ignatius Koch, 1865-1866
George Moore, 1898-1899
Legh Wilson Applegate, 1902-1907
Marshall Mallory Day, 1908-1910
Robert Carpenter Ten Broeck, 1910-1911
Walter Blake Williamson, 1912-1915
Clinton Bradshaw Cromwell, 1916-1920
George Taylor Griffith, 1920-1925
Arthur G. Worger-Slade, 1925-1927
Alexander Eberhardt Pflaum, 1928-1933
Harry Kroll Hemkey, 1933-1935
Dom Paul Severance, 1939-1945
Harold McLemore, 1945-1946
Samuel Hanna Norman Elliott, 1946-1951
Forrest B. Clark, 1954-1969, 1974-1976
John Graham Colin Mainer, 1968-1973
Ross Mack, 1977-1984
Robert G. Bramlett, 1985-1990
C. Patrick Ormos, 1991-2007
Roger Bower, 2010-2022
Adapted from St. Andrew's website https://standrewsvalpo.org/who-we-are/history/
media/Christ Episcopal Church, Gary.jpg
Christ Episcopal Church, Gary (defunct)
Efforts to establish an Episcopal Church in Gary began in 1907, when Bishop John Hazen White dispatched the Rev. Legh W. Applegate of Valparaiso to do missionary work there. At that time, Gary was newly-founded under the auspices of U.S. Steel, and all property was designated for industrial use. Applegate preached on street corners until H. S. Norton of U. S. Steel agreed to furnish a temporary building at 5th and Adams streets in December 1907. The Episcopalians thus opened the first formal church building in the city. In January 1908, White made his first visitation to Gary and confirmed seven. On 11 November 1908, Christ Church was formally organized. The Commercial Club attended, as did Norton himself, recognizing the civic importance of the event. Applegate made the building available to other community groups, including other churches.
With the church growing, Applegate asked the General Convention for $10,000, but he did not receive it until May 1910. That money allowed the congregation to purchase a lot on the northeast corner of 6th Avenue and Adams Street. The Rev. L. C. Marsh, called as rector in 1911, conducted the first service on the lot in a new frame church designed by L. H. Ellwood and Sons. Marsh was succeeded by Rev. William N. Wyckhoff in July 1912. He was followed by the Rev. Benjamin F. P. Ivins, who had previously been rector of St. Thomas, Plymouth, and served from 1914 to 1916. Ivins established the first weekday school of religion in the country, and in 1925 was elected Bishop of Milwaukee. Rev. W. H. Blake succeeded Ivins in 1916, and he was followed by the Rev. Wilbur Dean Elliott in 1917. During the 1919 steel strike, members of the congregation sided strongly with the corporation, but Elliott defended from the pulpit the right of workers to organize. The Rev. James Foster, Elliott's successor, later wrote that "no attempt was made to put any pressure on the rector," but by 1920 he became so driven by frustration that, "careless in his personal conduct," he resigned.
That same year the vestry called the Rev. James E. Foster, who would serve the church ably until his retirement in 1956. Foster told the vestry that if there was anything in the church they wished to get rid of, they should do it before he arrived. In 1925, under Foster's leadership, the parish received a $40,000 gift from U.S. Steel. A building fund campaign raised an additional $50,000, and a new church in the Gothic style was constructed in 1926. It was an impressive structure, and though not as large as the Methodist or Presbyterian churches, the congregation wielded much local influence. Foster was also instrumental in helping to found St. Augustine's mission in 1927, in part because his own congregation would not allow African Americans to worship there.
During the Depression, the congregation persevered under difficult times. At one time the bank foreclosed on the church, but it was not lost. Foster proved himself as a priest of enormous strength in guiding Christ Church through this era. A quiet, gentle man, he was interested in social justice issues, helped to desegregate the local beaches, and was a close friend of the Rev. Wallace Wells of St. Augustine's, with whom he exchanged pulpits on some Sundays in the summer. When the Rosenbergs were sentenced to death during the McCarthy era, Foster was among the local priests who campaigned for the commutation of the sentence, which was a controversial stance. He also knew grief. In 1944, his son Patrick died after becoming lost in the Colorado mountains in winter. Receiving the news just before the Christmas Eve service, he proceeded to conduct the service and collapsed afterward. An article in the diocesan newsletter noted after his retirement, "His outstanding characteristic is a fierce sense of integrity. He has a passion for intellectual honesty whether the opinions are popular or unpopular. This trait nearly always compels respect. Father Foster is a man of scholarship, one who has a very strong sense of social justice. He is a man of much personal kindness." When he retired after 36 years of service, he was the senior priest in the diocese.
Foster was a close friend of the Hyndman family. When the head of the family died in a mill accident in 1944, a large crowd gathered for the funeral. Bishop Mallett, who was visiting Gary at the time, later remarked to Foster that the funeral must have been for someone important. Foster replied, "Yes, he was important."
Following Foster's retirement, the Rev. James W. Curtis, the curate, was elected rector and enjoyed another long tenure. A native of St. Louis and a graduate of Dartmouth, he had been tutored for the priesthood and was ordained to the ministry by Bishop Whittemore of the Diocese of Western Michigan. As outspoken and passionate as his predecessor, Curtis extended outreach to local Spanish-speaking community members, supported a Cuban refugee program, and worked to develop ecumenical ties with local Catholic, Presbyterian, and evangelical congregations, including the African American community. He was an advocate for the Open Housing Amendment.
The closing of the church, once a vibrant congregation, can be attributed to the changing neighborhood around it and the flight of its white membership to suburban areas that began with the election of Richard Hatcher as mayor in 1968. At one point, the church was burglarized, and many items were stolen. The congregation put up a sign stating jokingly that it was now "Christ Church of the Good Thief." Increasingly, congregants began attending other congregations, such as St. Barnabas and St. Stephen's, which had been seeded by Christ Church members. The last service was held on All Saints Day, 1983, with Bishop Sheridan presiding. The records of the church are preserved in the Archives of the diocese. The exception is the parish register that dates after 1980, which is located at St. Stephen's, Hobart.
Legh Wilson Applegate, 1907-1910
Lindus Cody Marsh, 1911- 1912
William Nehemiah Wyckoff, 1912-1914
Benjamin Franklin Price Ivins, 1914-1916
W. H. Blake, 1916-1917
Wilbur Dean Elliott, 1917-1920
James Edward Foster, 1920-1956
James Wallace Curtis, 1956-1983
James W. Lewis, At Home in the City: The Protestant Experience in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1975 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1992), pp. 71-73.
James E. Foster, Christ Church, Gary, Indiana, a Sketch Book of Parish History (Gary: Christ Church, 1940).
Parish Register of Christ Church, Gary, 1908-1928
Parish Register of Christ Church, Gary, 1908-1980
Marriage Register of Christ Church, Gary, 1908-1964
Index of Names
Note that the above parish registers are accessible through Familysearch. A free registration and login is required for access.
Trinity Episcopal Mission, Kendallville (defunct)
In July 1890, the first Episcopal service in Kendallville, Noble County, was conducted in the Presbyterian Church by Bishop David Buel Knickerbacker and William Mitchell, a native of Kendallville, a Harvard graduate, and a candidate for Holy Orders. At the time Knickerbacker gave communion to all baptized Christians in attendance, "a act," said a history, "which as much as anything also helped to create a good and healthy impression towards the Church and the Prayer Book."
After ordination as a deacon, Mitchell returned in 1891 and held services in the Opera House, which were reportedly well attended. He then led the formal organization of the mission on 4 September 1892. Bishop Knickerbacker returned that year and confirmed six. That same year Mitchell's father, John Mitchell, a prominent citizen in town, gave a lot east of the family homestead on Diamond Street near Main for the church. It allowed the congregation to break ground and lay the cornerstone. The little church was finished in 1893. After Mitchell left for Terre Haute, a series of missionaries and lay readers assumed charge of both Kendallville and Emmanuel Episcopal Mission in Garrett. Two extant parish registers contain records only from 1890 to 1899 and 1907 to 1938, but there is evidence that services continued until 1941. For many years the congregation was led by its senior warden and lay reader, Archie Campbell, who had married Kate Mitchell, William Mitchell's sister. Campbell was reputedly one of the wealthiest men in Noble County, a local merchant, and a generous benefactor of the poor. He died in 1934.
Over time, the parish lost members to other larger mainline Protestant denominations. A few stalwart members remained, but few others were willing to travel for services in Kendallville when there were more successful churches of other denominations available. In 1947, the Rev. George B. Wood of Trinity Fort Wayne wrote to Bishop Mallett to report that the records of the church and a few holy vessels had been deposited with him. The building was by then in derelict condition with broken windows and only a broken organ inside. A year later, the bishop received a second report that the windows had been boarded up. The mission property was sold in 1951.
William Mitchell, 1890-1893
Charles Tullidge Stout, 1894-1895
John Edwin Carpenter, 1896-1898
Edward E. St. John (lay reader), 1898
Legh Wilson Applegate, 1900-1902
John Newton Rippey, 1902-1903
William Burbury Magnan, 1903-1906
Hobart Louis Marvin, 1906-1910
Herbert A. Wilson, 1910
Cleon E. Bigler, 1913-1914
A. M. Judd, 1914-1915
Gomer David Griffiths, 1916
Charles A. Reah, 1917
Duncan Weeks, 1920-1924
Albert Linnell Schrock, 1924-1935
Clarence Parker, 1939
Dom Leo Kenneth Douglas Patterson, 1941-1945
Clergy Book, Service Register, and Parish Register, 1890-1904
Parish Register, 1907-1938
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St. Alban's Episcopal Mission, Indiana Harbor
St. Alban's began as an unorganized mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Hammond, in 1900, founded by the Rev. Legh W. Applegate. At about that time, Inland Steel Company opened a plant that attracted many immigrant laborers, including some from England, Scotland, and Wales. As these immigrants searched for a church, Bishop White conducted services for them in 1903 in the South Bay Hotel, eventually forming a diocesan mission. The mission was given a lot, and the attendants took out a year lease on the only hall in town, with the bishop placing the Rev. Vincent C. Lacey in charge. He was soon replaced by the Rev. Henry Nodder, and during his charge the mission was named St. Alban's the Martyr. The Rev. Thomas D. Phillips conducted services there in 1904, but then services lapsed for a few years. In 1909, under the charge of a new missionary, the Rev. Charles Albert Smith, the mission raised $2,000 for constructing a two-story brick parish house in March 1910, and the mortgage was paid off three years later.
Religious services were held irregularly in the parish house, including eight services in 1910, when Bishop White reported that 35 families attended. That same year the diocese distributed an undated flyer with the picture of a church building and the notation, "All but abandoned in the midst of a thriving community, this lovely church presents a real challenge to the Diocese of Northern Indiana. A resident priest can soon restore it to vigorous life. To locate a priest in this vital industrial area, the diocese needs $2000 more per year. This means a 50% increase over last year's pledge on the red side of the envelope. Will you and your parish do your part?"
The Rev. Marshall M. Day took charge of the mission later in 1910, and the Women's Guild raised enough money to purchase land. The congregation borrowed money to build a church, with Bishop White laying the cornerstone in January 1915. The bishop reported a year later: "they have built a pretty little church, which has called out the utmost effort of the congregation and leaves them with a debt of $5,000 to overcome, but has put the church in a position of much greater vantage than ever before." When Day left in 1917, the lot with its brick parish house was valued at $23,000. After Day left, several missionary priests had charge in the 1920s.
During the Depression, the mission struggled to stay open, and for a time during the Second World War, its doors closed. In 1945, Dom Leo Patterson, a Benedictine monk, attempted to revive St. Alban's, and it was listed on the books of the diocese through 1947, when it was given a small assessment of $77. The mission closed soon afterward, and the congregation was folded into the Church of the Good Shepherd, East Chicago. No records of the church are known to survive.
Legh Wilson Applegate, 1900-1902
Vincent C. Lacey, 1903
Henry Nodder, 1903
Thomas Dowell Phillipps, 1904
Charles Albert Smith, 1909-1910
Marshall Mallory Day, 1910-1918
William Fenwick Bachman, 1918
Leon E. Morris, 1919-1921
Walter B. Reed, 1921-1923
Cassius H. Hunt, 1923-1927
Jesse Raymond Lemert, 1927-1929
Harry Kroll Hemkey, 1930-1935
William Edward Hoffenbacher, 1935-1940
John E. Kuhns, 1941
Peter Langendorff, 1943-1945
Dom Leo Kenneth Douglas Patterson, 1945-1948
Rev. Legh Wilson Applegate
The Rev. Legh W. Applegate was born on 19 August 1850 in Fairfield, New York, the son of English immigrants, Thomas L. and Sarah Applegate. He was ordained a deacon in 1874 and a priest in 1875 by Bishop Howe. He served as rector of St. Jude's, Fenton, Michigan, from 1875 to 1878, then moved to Illinois to serve as rector of churches at Lockport and New Lenox from 1879 to 1882. He married Rebecca E. Jones in Will County, Illinois, on 20 October 1881. He then took charge of a church in Streator, Illinois, from 1882 to 1890, then moved to Washington State to serve a church at Fair Haven from 1890 to 1892. His missionary skills led to his appointment as Archdeacon of the Diocese of Olympia, serving until about 1899. Moving to Indiana in 1900, he was sent by Bishop White to various mission stations. From 1900 to 1902 he was at the fledgling mission of Trinity Church in Kendallville. He then moved to St. Andrew's in Valparaiso, completing his duties there in 1907. His most important ministry came when White sent him to the newly-created city of Gary in 1907, where he became the first clergyman of any denomination to establish a church. Preaching at first on street corners, he eventually secured the construction of a makeshift building, which he shared with other denominations. He founded Christ Church in Gary in 1908 and remained its rector until 1910, when he retired as its rector emeritus. He moved to Hobart and attended St. Stephen's, but was not its vicar. His long retirement lasted until his death there on 13 August 1942, when he suffered from senility and heart problems. He was praised at the time as one of the founding priests of the diocese. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Joliet, Illinois.