EPISCOPAL CHURCH, PROTESTANT
In what is
now Alabama the Episcopal church the legitimate descendant of the church of England had
representation among the very earliest British settlers. Rev. Samuel Hart, of Charleston, S. C., the first
ordained minister in the state, received license to minister in 1764, and came to Mobile where he remained
only a year, returning to Charleston. A few families scattered here and there throughout the state irregularly held lay
services, supplemented by visits from clerical itinerants, relatives, or friends. In 1822 a
church was built in Mobile and for three years union services were held in this building. In 1825 the
Episcopalians in Mobile organized Christ church parish and built their first church in Alabama. This church was in charge of Rev. Murdock
Murphy, a Presbyterian minister, until December, 1827, when Rev. Henry A. Shaw, arrived and took over the charge. Three weeks later, Rev.
Robert Davis, who was sent out by the Domestic and Foreign missionary society of the church, reached Tuscaloosa, then a small village and the
capital of the state. He remained here for several months, organized on January 7, 1828, Christ church parish, and began the building of a
church. Leaving Tuscaloosa on March 25, 1828, he was followed in February, 1829, by Rev. William H. Judd, who lived only six months after
he came to Alabama, but who, during his short stay, had almost completed the church building and had brought the congregation to a flourishing
and united condition. In the meantime congregations had been gathered at Greensboro, Huntsville, Montgomery, Selma, and Florence.
request of the Domestic missionary board, to visit all the Southern States, the Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Brownell, Bishop of Connecticut, visited
Mobile in January, 1830, and presided over the primary convention, January 25, 1830, at which the diocese was organized. This convention
was attended only by the bishop, the local minister, who was Rev. Henry Shaw, Rev. William Richmond, a New York clergyman, Rev. Albert A.
Muller, who had recently been transferred from Mississippi to Tuscaloosa, and ten or twelve laymen, the majority of the latter being
residents of Mobile. The Mobile and Tuscaloosa parishes and the Greensboro congregations were represented. Steps were taken to secure a
union with the diocese of Mississippi and the congregations of Louisiana, a standing committee was appointed, and a constitution
adopted. Mobile was again chosen as the place for the next meeting and May 12, of the same year set as the date. This meeting was attended by
lay delegates from the same three congregations, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, and Greensboro, and by Rev. Mr. Shaw, who was the only clergyman present. No
business was transacted and the meeting adjourned to meet at Tuscaloosa on January 3, 1831. It was hoped that the accessibility of Tuscaloosa
would command a larger attendance but Rev. Mr. Muller was the only clergyman present at the meeting; Huntsville, Greensboro, and Mobile
were represented by lay delegates, ten souls in all constituting this convention.
request of the Mississippi diocese a committee of six was appointed to meet six each from Mississippi and Louisiana, with a view to the
formation of the "Southwestern Diocese," out of the three bodies. Chief
Justice Abner S. Lipscomb and John Elliott, of Mobile, J. M. Davenport
and A. P. Baldwin, of Tuscaloosa, and the two clergy residents in the
state were appointed on the committee. This convention adopted a set of
four canons and requested that Bishop Brownell continue in charge of the
church in Alabama. Several years later the Bishop made a visit of
inspection through the state and held services at Selma, Montgomery, and
Florence, these villages being considered as favorable fields for
missionary work. The general convention of 1832 recognized Alabama as an
autonomous diocese and enacted a canon allowing the formation of the
"Southwestern Diocese." The diocese convention of 1832 was held in
Tuscaloosa, and was attended by Rev. Mr. Muller and nine laymen, one
half of whose membership was from that place. Rev. Norman Pinney, the
successor of Rev. Mr. Shaw, of Christ church. Mobile, was not in
attendance at this meeting and did not attend one until more than three
years later. In 1833 10 convention was held as appeals to the Domestic
and foreign missionary society had failed to receive any response and
the liberality of the churchmen throughout the state was subject to
criticism. Rev. Mr. Muller >who had discontinued his monthly visits
to Greensboro after two years of service was deposed, and only in Mobile
where there was only a handful of communicants did any vigor remain.
Rev. Caleb S. Ives was sent to Alabama by the general board of missions.
He at once began his work in what are now Greene, Hale, and Marengo
Counties. On December 24, 1833, the Greensboro congregation formed the
parish of St. Paul's, under the direction of Rev. Mr. Ives. On December
15, 1833, he held the first church services ever held in Demopolis, and
on January 31, 1834, organized Trinity parish of that place. He
organized the parish of St. John's in the Prairies, on April 19, 1834,
at a point about nine miles southwest of Greensboro and on the road to
Demopolis, but in 1865 this congregation was discontinued, the remnant
of the congregation joining St. Paul's, at Greensboro, Rev. Dr. John
Avery was the first rector in charge of St. John's in the Prairies. In
September, 1834, Rev. Mr. Ives established a congregation at Prairie
ville, afterwards Macon, and now Gallion.
The next convention
met in January, 1835, in Mobile, attended by Bishop Brownell, the three clergy of
the diocese, and lay delegates from Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Greensboro, and Demopolis. The Southwestern
Division was organized at the convention held in New Orleans on March 4 and 5, 1835, Alabama
having sent her three clergy and six laymen as delegates. At the diocese convention held in Mobile in 1836, Alabama
severed her connections with the new diocese, passing resolutions affirming her withdrawal from
the Southwestern Diocese and proclaiming her intention of preserving her autonomy
as an independent diocese.
Rev. Mr. Pinney, rector of Christ church, Mobile,
was deposed in 1835 by the Bishop because of his denial of belief in Christ as
God, Rev. Samuel S. Lewis, rector at Tuscaloosa succeeding him. Rev. Andrew Matthews took
charge at Tuscaloosa. In December, 1835, Rev. William Johnson was placed in charge of the small congregation
at Montgomery. Services were first in a Baptist, later in a Universalist
church, and in 1837, the first St. John's church of the town, a neat
brick building, was consecrated by Bishop Kemper. Rev. Robert G. Hays,
of Tennessee, shortly afterwards succeeded in building a brick church at
Wetumpka. Rev. Thomas A. Cook, of South Carolina, who was in charge of
the parish consisting of only eight communicants at Florence, succeeded
in raising $1.500 for a church building.
time a fund was started for the support of the future bishop of the
state. Six hundred and forty acres of land in Baldwin County were
transferred to the diocese by Jacob Lorillard, of New York, for this
fund and an additional $4,050 was raised by subscription by Rev. Mr.
Ives, who on account of pecuniary reasons had given up parish work and
was conducting a school in Mobile. It was thought advisable not to elect
a bishop at this time although eight clergymen were now at work in the
diocese, the financial condition of the country being in a decidedly
unsettled condition. Bishop Brownell finding it impossible to visit the
state frequently delegated his duties as provisional bishop of Alabama
to Rt. Rev. James H. Otey, Bishop of Tennessee, who made a visit to the
state in 1836 and gave what supervision he could. At Bishop Otey's
request. Bishop Kemper visited portions of the state consecrating at the
time the churches at Montgomery and the Prairies. These two visits were
the only ones received in Alabama for a period of five years. The want
of available means of supporting a bishop was the cause of the wasting
of years without the influence of a head. Rev. Thomas A. Cook founded a
church in LaFayette, in 1838, which never grew to any size. About the
same time Rev. Lucien B. Wright began holding services at Selma in
conjunction with Hayneville, and in 1839, Selma began the erection of a
brick church. This church was completed and paid for in 1847 during the
rectorship of Rev. J. H. Linebaugh. Two small congregations were
established at Tuscumbia and Florence in 1840. At the convention of
1842, Christ church, Mobile, and the churches in Tuscaloosa, Greensboro,
the Prairies, Livingston, Florence and Tuscumbia pledged themselves to
raise $1,000 of the bishop's salary. St. John's, Montgomery, offered to
increase this amount by another thousand dollars if the bishop should
accept the rectorship of that parish. In this way the last obstacle to
the election of a bishop was removed. Rev. Martin P. Parks, a Presbyter
of the diocese of Virginia, but at the time, chaplain of the United
States military academy at West Point, was elected but declined. The
convention of 1843 presided over by Bishop Leonidas Polk, of Louisiana,
provisional bishop of Alabama, elected Rev. James T. Johnston, of
Virginia, but he also declined the office. Huntsville was organized as a
parish in 1843 although it had had a small existence for ten years. In
1844 the convention met at Greensboro, and on May 3, elected Rev. Dr.
Nicholas Hamner Cobbs, rector of St. Paul's church, Cincinnati, who
accepted the election, In the meantime, 1844, Rev. J. L. Gay had
organized the parish of St. James', at Faultily.
The policy of Bishop Cobbs was to establish congregations in as many
places as was possible. With this in view he at once visited Tuskegee,
Marion, Burton's Hill, Sumterville. Northport, Mount Meigs, Jacksonville
and Montevallo. Permanent congregations were established at all of these
places except Tuskegee and Northport. He was also a strong advocate of
the missionary spirit. Mount Meigs in Montgomery County, Robinson
Springs in Autauga County, Tuskegee in Macon County. Hayneville in
Lowndes County, St. David's in Dallas County, and Wetumpka in Elmore County were in the charge of the rector of St. John's, at Montgomery. The clergy at Mobile, Greensboro,
Huntsville, and Selma, visited the scattered congregations in their neighborhood. From >this
period through 1855 the church met with almost insurmountable obstacles that
retarded its growth. The Oxford movement, the indifferentism and
ignorance of the church children, and the migratory disposition of
the clergy were the chief hindrances. In spite of these
hindrances the clergy list had increased to sixteen active workers. In 1846
the "Free Episcopal church," under the ministration of Rev.
B. M. Miller had become an established congregation known as Trinity church. Huntsville had erected a small brick
church and Eutaw had raised a subscription of $2,000 towards a church building. In 1847, Henry
Lay, became rector of the Church of the Nativity, at Huntsville. Twelve clergymen were at work in 1844, sixteen in
1850, and twenty-two in 1855. The years 1851-52 were spent by
the Bishop in visitations, first in the west, second in the north, third in the east, and fourth in the south
of the state. In the spring of 1852 the Bishop removed from
Tuscaloosa to Montgomery, where he purchased a home and several acres of land on the outskirts of the town with the
$3,000 presented to him by the churchmen of Montgomery. In the
decade between 1850-60, churches were built by eighteen congregations, among these were Eufaula, Demopolis, Faunsdale, Cahaba. Burton's Hill,
Camden, Lowndesboro, Somerville, Spring Hill, Tuscumbla, Jacksonville, Huntsville, and St. John's in Mobile. Christ Church
parish, Tuscaloosa, built a chapel for its Negro congregation. At the same time throughout the country districts large
churches for the planters were built. Among these were St.
Mark's in Greene County; St. Michael's in Marengo; St. David's in Dallas;
St. John's-in-the-Wilderness in Russell; St. John's in Madison;
and St. Peter's in Lowndes. Two small parishes of great promise were St. Paul's at Carlowville and St.
Luke's at Cahaba. William L. a member of the vestry of the
latter. Bishop Cobbs was especially interested in the welfare of the Negroes,
sixteen hundred receiving the sacrament of baptism during his
episcopate, three hundred of these being adults. St. John's-in-the-Wilderness, in Russell County, and the Church of Good
Shepherd, Mobile, were exclusively Negro congregations, while that race
predominated in St. Michael's, Faunsdale, and St. David's, in Dallas
County. Selma was the only place in which nothing was done for the
The Diocesan missionary society was organized in 1844,
the day before the election of Bishop Cobbs. Until 1860 its average
income was only $400, and its activity was restricted to supplementing
the meager incomes of some of the clergy. Later, with a decided increase
in its income, it was able to employ a number of missionaries. Among
these early missionaries were the Rev. Messrs. J. F. Smith, J. S.
Jarratt, F. B. Lee, Edward Denniston, W. M. Bartley, J. A. Wheelock, and
J. C. Waddell, who served the congregations at Autaugaville and
Prattville; Greenville, Letohatchie, and Hayneville; Carlowville;
Opelika, Auburn, Youngesboro, and Salem; Tuskegee and Tallassee; Eutaw
and Gainesville; and Pushmataha, Butler, Mount Stirling, and Bladon
During a recess of the convention held at Carlowville,
the "Society for the Relief of Disabled Clergy and the Widows and
Orphans of Deceased Clergy" was organized on May 9, 1846, and grew so
rapidly that at the beginning of the War of Secession it was in a
splendid financial condition.
Church schools were also foremost
in the thoughts of the people during this period. Several attempts were
made in Tuscaloosa to open a diocesan institution but these proved
unsuccessful. In October, 1845, Rev. Aristides S. Smith established in
Tuscaloosa a girls school, known as the Female institute which was under
the control of the church. Two years later the school was closed upon
the removal of Rev. Mr. Smith, and no attempt was ever made to reopen
it. On January 2, 1849, a classical institute and mission school for
boys and young men was opened at Tuscaloosa, but was closed in six
months time by the death of Rev. Charles F. Peake, the principal. In
September, 1850, a diocesan school for girls was again opened in
Tuscaloosa, but dissensions soon arose first between the principal and
pupils, and then between rector and vestry. Rev. William Johnson, the
rector and principal, was dismissed by his congregation and this meant
also the extinction of the school. The Diocesan female seminary, under
the principal- ship of Rev. J. Avery Shepherd, was opened in October,
1860, at Montgomery. This proved to be the only successful school of
this period. Parochial schools at Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and
Marion, were in a flourishing condition. At Talladega religious
instructions were given in the Rev. Mr. Cook's school.
On May 3,
1855, in Mobile, four laymen organized the Brotherhood of the church, an
interparochial organization of the laymen of that city. This
organization antedated the Brotherhood of St. Andrew by more than a
Notable clergymen during this period of the church's
growth were Rev. Henry C. Lay; Rev. Henry N. Pierce, a Rhode Islander,
who came to St. John's church, Mobile, where he remained eleven years,
later becoming bishop of Arkansas; Rev. Samuel Smith Lewis, of Vermont,
who served first the Tuscaloosa congregation, later accepted a call to
Christ church, Mobile, and president of the diocesan conventions from
1832-44; Rev. Nathaniel P. Knapp, of New York, founder of St. Peter's
church, Benton, later serving in Mobile and Montgomery; Rev. George F.
Cushman, of Cahaba, later editor of the "Churchman;" Rev. Mr. Stlckney,
of Marion, and a most successful educator; Rev. J. M. Mitchell, of St.
John's, Montgomery; Rev. F. R. Hanson, missionary of Greene and
Marengo Counties, and Rev. F. B. Lee, the builder of St. Paul's,
The diocesan convention of May,
1861, was unable to agree as to the successor of Bishop Cobbs, who had
died on January 11 of that year. The laity were in favor of Bishop Lay,
of Arkansas, and the clergy's choice was the Rev. Dr. William Pinkney,
of Maryland. The election was postponed until the meeting of November
21, 1861, in Selma. when the choice of both the laity and clergy was
declared to be the Rev. Dr. Richard Hooker Wilmer.
Bishop Wilmer. During the War of Secession the church in Alabama
severed her connection with the church in the United States. Parish work went on
without undue incident, numerous chapels were erected by planters
for their slaves, and missionary work was carried on in Montgomery and Mobile. It was found necessary
to undertake the care of the orphans, as the war progressed, and Montgomery, the first parish
to realize the need, opened what was known as Bishop Cobbs' orphans' home, which
was in active operation throughout this period. An orphans home in conjunction with
a parochial school was also opened in Tuscaloosa. On December 12, 1864, the
first act was passed by the state legislature incorporating
the Protestant Episcopal church in the diocese of Alabama. On January 17,
1866, at a special diocesan council in Montgomery the church in Alabama resumed its
former relation to the national church.
After the War of
Secession it was found necessary to abandon the efforts of the church
to evangelize the Negro. The Negroes refused to
take their religion from their former owners. The many Negro congregations in
1867 had dwindled to two, the Church of the Good Shepherd,
Mobile, and Faunsdale chapel, on the plantation of Rev. William A. Stickney, in Marengo County; and in 1882
not one of the old organized Negro congregations was to be
found in the diocese. It was in the same year, 1882, a new beginning was made in Mobile. A new church of the
Good Shepherd was erected. A school house and rectory were also erected. In 1891 the second Negro congregation was founded, that of St. Mark's, Birmingham.
In 1867 the Church
home for orphan's property, at Tuscaloosa, was sold, and the orphans were removed to Mobile, where they were settled in a two room
house on a lot given by St. John's parish. This home was so well managed by the deaconess and the Bishop that in 1896 it had completed its
endowment fund of $40,000.
The convention of 1873 adopted a canon that provided for the establishment of convocations. Bishop
Wilmer, on May 20, 1873, set forth the four convocations of Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Selma, and Montgomery. The deans of these first convocations
were the Revs. Messrs. J. M. Bannister, D. D., George H. Hunt, F. R. Hanson, and Horace String- fellow, D. D. The Mobile convocation was
called into being two years later and Rev. Dr. J. A. Massey was appointed its dean. The Tuscaloosa convocation was in 1885 changed to
the Birmingham convocation.
During this period new congregations appeared at Auburn and Mount Meigs, where twenty years before the first
ones had perished. Birmingham, Talladega. Decatur, Union Springs, and Evergreen saw the birth of congregations, while churches were being
built at Selma, Opelika, Greensboro, Demopolis, Hayneville, Montevallo and Montgomery (St. John's).
The year 1875 showed no marked
improvement in the churches growth. In the following year, improvement began and continued throughout the next ten years. In 1872 the Church of
the Advent was organized at Elyton, and the Rev. Philip A. Fitts, was the first pastor. Grace church, Anniston, was founded in 1881, no
organization having been attempted before but the Rev. J. F. Smith had been ministering to the congregation since 1875. A chapel for the poor
was soon built at Glenn Addie. The Church of the Advent, Birmingham, numbered 1,100 souls in 1887, and it was found necessary to establish a
new parish which became known as St. Mary's of the Highlands. The first rector of St. Mary's was Rev. L. W. Rose. A few years later the frame
building was burned and a stone church was built on a better site but on the same plan. From 1885-1890 twenty new parishes and churches were
established, the missionary force increased from seven to thirteen, and in the single year 1889-90 the diocese of five thousand communicants
On March 6, 1887, the Church of the Holy Comforter, Montgomery, was opened. During the War of Secession the Rev.
Dr. Scott of Pensacola had started, under this title, a congregation which was composed mostly of refugees from Florida and other states. The
building was removed after the war. The present building was erected with the proceeds of the original property which had been appropriated
for that purpose. About the same time St. Mary's, Birmingham, St. Michael and All Angels', Anniston, the latter the gift of John W. Noble,
of Anniston, and the Church of the Nativity, Huntsville, the gift of Mrs. Wilson Bibb, as a memorial of her husband and little daughter, were
In 1888 the council created an office to which the
board of missions gave the title "archdeacon." The archdeacon's duty was
to relieve the Bishop, who was becoming feeble, of all detail work and
to have general supervision of missionary posts. Rev. Dr. Horace
Stringfellow was elected to this office.
council of 1890 which met in St. John's chapel again reopened the matter
of electing an assistant bishop. Three clergymen were nominated. Rev.
Thomas F. Gailor, of Sewanee, Rev. Robert S. Barrett, of Atlanta, and
Rev. Dr. J. S. Lindsay, of Boston. The choice fell upon Dr. Lindsay who
declined. On October 29, 1890, a special council met at Selma, and the
Rev. Henry Melville Jackson, D. D., of Richmond, Va., Rev. R. W.
Barnwell, of Selma, and Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire, of Charlotte, N.
C., were nominated. Rev. Dr. Jackson received the election.
The congregations organized during the first thirty
years of Bishop Wilmer's episcopate were: Athens, Anniston (3),
Avondale, Auburn, Bessemer, Birmingham (2), Bon Secour, Clayton,
Coalburg, Columbia, Grace parish in Dallas County, Decatur, Evergreen,
Fowl River, Gadsden, Gainesville, Hayneville, Mount Meigs, Montevallo,
Montgomery (1), Prattville, Piedmont, Sheffield, Scottsboro, Talladega,
Trinity, Troy, Union Springs, Whistler and Woodlawn.
Noble institute, a diocesan school for girls, at
Anniston, the gift of Samuel Noble, was destroyed by fire in 1895, and
June 20, 1896, the property was conveyed to Grace church, Anniston, and is now a church school for
Between 1890-94 ten parishes were organized. In 1890 Christ church, Avondale,
and St. John's, New Decatur, were organized; in 1892 the mission at
Sylacauga; and in 1893, Christ church, Bridgeport, Grace church, Mt.
Meigs, the missions at Mt. Pleasant, Orrville, Perdue Hill, Stanton and
St. Thomas', Citronelle, and St.
Thomas', Greenville, and Trinity church , Florence, were consecrated in
1898. In 189"9 the council adopted a constitution and canon which were
amended in 1900.
On January 1, 1900, Rt.
Rev. Henry Melville resigned as Bishop Coadjutor of the diocese on
account of ill health. Rev. Robert Woodward Barnwell was elected to this
office on May 8, 1900, but Bishop Wilmer died before his consecration as
such, so on July 25, 1900, he was consecrated bishop. For many years
Bishop Wilmer had been unable to attend the council meetings so it was
still necessary to have an assistant to the Bishop. Bishop Wilmer died
June 14, 1900.
Bishop Barnwell's Episcopate.
On October 1, 1900, St. Alban's, at Gainesville, was consecrated and on November 18 and December 30, respectively, of that year the Church of
the Heavenly Rest, Atmore, and Christ Church, Avondale, were also consecrated. The church at
this time had three colored priests and three colored congregations, namely, Mobile, Montgomery and
Birmingham. Trinity Church, Demopolis, was consecrated June 19, 1901,
and two other churches, Church of the Holy Cross, Union- town, November
6, 1901, and the church at Magnolia Springs. April 3, 1902. Bishop
Barnwell died July 24, 1902.
Bishop Beckwith's Episcopate. Rev.
Dr. Charles Minnegrode Beckwith, a missionary in the diocese of Texas,
was on October 8, 1902, unanimously elected to succeed Bishop Barnwell.
Barnwell, Blockton, Pell City, Marlon, Tuskegee, and several other
places have had churches consecrated, but the chief growth has been in
the mission field and work along educational lines.
Incorporated by an act of the Alabama legislature, February
23, 1860. It was the outcome of the earnest request of Bishop Cobbs
addressed to the Convention, 1857. A committee was appointed consisting
of Rev. Messrs. J. M. Barrister and F. R. Hanson, of the clergy, and
Charles T. Pollard, A. W. Ellerbee, and A. R. Bell, of the laity. This
committee reported favorably on the Bishop's communication and suggested
that a committee be appointed with power to act in the establishment of
a diocesan seminary. Bishop Cobbs was chairman of this committee, and
the other members were Rev. J. M. Mitchell, Samuel G. Jones, and Thomas
B. Taylor, all of Montgomery.
At the next convention a report
was made which the finance committee endorsed and the convention adopted
by unanimous vote. Montgomery had been decided upon as the location for
the school, and a grove of nearly ten acres had been purchased in the
western part of the city at a cost of $6,000. Montgomery, by popular
subscription, had already raised nearly the whole of this amount, and
expected to raise at least $10, 000. The diocese was asked for $20,000
more with which to erect suitable buildings. The following- year the
committee announced that $15,000 had already been raised by Montgomery.
An increase to $20,000 was promised by this city, provided the diocese
raised the same amount. The convention then discharged the committee and
elected in its stead a board of trustees, the members of which were Dr.
T. B. Taylor, Charles T. Pollard, Samuel G. Jones, and the Rev. J. M.
Mitchell, whose terms of office were, respectively, one, two, three, and
four years, and each trustee's successor was to be elected for a term of
In October, 1860, it was
leased, rent free, for the first two years to Rev. J. Avery Shepherd.
The buildings were not completed but a dwelling-house was rented for the
boarding department and an adjoining house for school rooms. By the
middle of the first year the school had reached its utmost limit. The
buildings were not completed until 1862. During the confusion of the War
of Secession, no attempt was made to collect the rent. At the close of
this period satisfactory terms could not be made with Rev. Mr. Shepherd,
so the school was transferred to Prof. H. P. Lefebvre, who took charge
in October, 1865. Under his principalship it was successfully managed
until his death four years
In 1863, the board of trustees found it necessary to
borrow $4,968 from the Bishop's fund. For seven years this indebtedness
remained unpaid, the interest not even having been paid.
Rev. Dr. Horace Stringfellow, rector of St. John's,
Montgomery, and his vestry decided, in 1870, to purchase this property
and make it into a parish school, as it had not been open since the
death of Prof. Lefebvre. It was therefore bought by St. John's church
vestry and they assumed the debt of the trustees of the school to the
trustees of the Bishop's fund. A note of $5,000 with interest was given
to the trustees of the Bishop's fund as security. The note was made
payable in five years and the mortgage was fore- closable upon failure
to pay the principal at maturity and also upon the first default in
annual interest. For two years the interest was paid by the parish.
In 1873, after two years as a girls' school,
the institution was declared a failure. It was then converted into a
boys' school under the principalship of Francis K. Meade, of Virginia.
In 1879, the debt and interest still
unpaid, it was decided to convey the entire Hamner Hall property,
including the Bishop Cobbs' orphan home, to the Bishop's fund in payment
of the debt. St. John's parish was to retain use of a part of the
property until it should be needed as a residence for the future bishop.
From 1879-89 the property was leased to the Rev. Dr. George M. Everhart, who conducted a girls' school,
and the school not proving a success during the latter part of that time was again pronounced a failure.
The property was then rented as a boarding house and later was
used as a boys' school by Prof. J. M. Starke. Along the south
side a street was cut, and another was made at right angles to this. The
property on the east side was made into building lots which
were soon sold.
On the morning of August 29,
1909, this historic old building was burned to the ground. It had been
rented to the Woman's College of Montgomery, and the library, furniture,
etc., of this college was destroyed with the buildings. The city of
Montgomery purchased the property and it is now used as a public park.
Statistics. — In 1920 in Alabama there were 36
parishes; 41 organized missions; 21 unorganized missions; 38 clergymen;
1 bishop; 34 priests; 3 deacons; 96 church edifices; 36 rectories; 36
parish houses; whole number baptized persons, 12,283, white, 11,962,
colored, 321; whole number of communicants, 9,518, white, 9,205,
colored, 313; orphan asylums, 1; industrial schools, 1; total value of
church property, $1,796,813.57.
Diocesan Officers. —
Right Rev. Charles M.
Beckwith, D. D., Bishop, ex officio president of the Council.
Secretary — Rev. V. G. Lowery, Troy.
Assistant Secretary — Rev. C. K. Weller,
Registrar — Frank Stollenwerck.
Chancellor — A. Pelham Agee,
Histlographer — Rev. R. H. Cobbs, D. D., Greensboro.
Treasurer — R. H. Cochrane, Tuscaloosa.
Mobile: embraces Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Washington, Clarke and
Monroe Counties; 6 parishes; 10 organized missions; 9 unorganized
missions. Montgomery: embraces
Montgomery, Conecuh, Butler,
Lowndes, Autauga, Lee, Russell, Pike, Bullock, Barbour, Covington,
Coffee, Geneva, Dale, Henry, Macon, Chilton, Coosa, Elmore, Tallapoosa,
Chambers and Houston Counties; 4 parishes; 13 organized missions; 4
Selma: embraces Dallas, Marengo, Perry,
Wilcox, Hale, Choctaw, Sumter and Greene Counties; 9 parishes; 6
organized missions; 2 unorganized missions.
Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, St. Clair, Shelby, Bibb, Talladega, Calhoun,
Walker, Blount, Cullman, Etowah, Pickens, Lamar, Fayette, Marion,
Winston, Cherokee, DeKalb, Clay and Randolph Counties; 12 parishes; 8
organized missions; 3 unorganized missions.
Colbert, Madison, Jackson, Limestone, Morgan, Lawrence, Franklin,
Lauderdale and Marshall Counties; 5 parishes; 3 organized missions; 3
Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography By
Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen Published by The S. J. Clarke
publishing company, 1921; Submitted by Barb