By M. C. Howard
The history of the Eastern Shore of Virginia begins with Captain John Smith's visit of exploration, recorded by himself. He says: "Leaving the Phoenix at Cape Henry, wee crossed the bay to the Eastern Shore, and fell in with the isles called Smith's Isles. First people encountered were two grim, stout savages, upon cape Charles, with long poles, javelings headed with bone, who boldly demanded who and what we were. After many circumstances, they seemed kind, and directed us to Accomack, the habitation of their Werewance, where we were kindly treated. This Rex was the comeliest, proper, civill salvage we encountered. His country is pleasant, fertile clay soyle; some small creeks, good harbours for barques, not ships. They spoke the language of Powhatan."
The largest of this group is still known as "Smith's Island." It formed a very insignificant part of the patrimony of Mrs. Robert E. Lee, inherited through many generations from her ancestor, John Custis, of Arlington, Northampton county, Va. From this first American home of the Custis family, the famous Arlington, Mrs. Lee's home until the outbreak of the Confederate War, received its name.
The home of the "Rex," whom John Smith visited (in 1608), was on what is called "Old Plantation Creek, which name commemorates the fact that the oldest "settlement: on the Eastern Shore was made on this beautiful tidal inlet, probably on the farm at the head of the creek also called "Old Plantation." No trace of this first settlement can now be found, and I have met with no reference to it prior to the account given by John Rolfe, who, having returned to England, taking with him his wife, Pocahontas, was desired by the Virginia Company in London to furnish them with information concerning the Virginia Colony. He tells them of six "plantacons," one of them at "Dale's Gift," on the Eastern Shore, where Lieutenant Craddock, with about sixteen men, had been established for the purpose of making salt, of which all the settlements were in need.*
A few years later, in 1620, a second settlement was made on the farm now called "Town Fields," which lies between Cherrystone† and King's Creeks, divided by the latter from the very new town of "Cape Charles City," about fourteen miles from the real Cape Charles. The English called this second "towne" Accomack-probably in compliment to the "Laughing King of Accomack" (John Smith's "Rex")-which name was applied not only to the town and to the royal residence, but by the Indians to the whole peninsula. The new town seems to have absorbed the earlier one at Old Plantation, which is heard of no more. Perhaps the Colonists found it more convenient and comfortable to have the "King's Creek" between them and their Indian neighbors (1629) one was built "neare the ffishing poynte." Its exact location cannot be identified, for all "poyntes" in that highly favored land may be made "ffishing poyntes." It was perhaps at the point made by the junction of two creeks. That it was called "the Ffishinge Poynte" seems to indicate that, at that time, the few inhabitants, for mutual protection, did all their fishing in one place. The church was "of insignificant dimensions," constructed of rough logs, connected loosely with wattle, the whole enclosed with 'Pallysadoes' for protection against 'ye Indian tribes, an ever present menace to peace and safety.'" I believe, however there is no record or tradition to indicate that the tribes on the Eastern Shore ever invaded the "peace and safely" of the English, possible because of their prudent measures of self-protection; but the massacres on the Western side of the Chesapeake, and more especially the "Great Massacre" of 1622, made men cautious, and this seems
*This report dated 1615 or 1616, is in one of the early volumes of the Va. Hist. Mag., or the Va. Hist. Register; and ante-bellum number. I read it some years ago, and have neither "Magazine" nor Register" to refer to.
† Originally Cheriton; the unmeaning Cherrystone being a corruption.
to have turned the tide of immigration to the other shore,‡ where climate and soil were good, food supplies unusually abundant, and where the Indians were kind and friendly.
The first rector of this first church-which, though unnamed, should never be forgotten-was the Rev. Francis Bolton. A manuscript record in the Congressional Library gives this statement concerning his salary: "It is ordered by the Governor and Council that Mr. Bolton shall receive for his salary this year, throughout all the plantations on the Eastern Shore, ten pounds of tobacco and one bushel of corn for every planter and trader above the age of sixteen, alive at the crop." A clergyman coming to Virginia could not have been influenced by any prospect of emolument; but, paltry as these items seem, a bushel of corn and ten pounds of tobacco was probably a larger contribution in proportion in income than we can always show in these days. In 1630 Thomas Warnet (?), "principal merchant and devout Churchman," bequeaths to Mr. Bolton the following useful articles: "A firkin of butter, a bushel of salt, six pounds of candles, a pound of pepper, a pound of ginger, two bushels of meal, a rundlet of ink, six quires of letter paper, and a pair of silk stockings."
The second rector was the Rev. William Cotton, who officiated from 1632 to about 1645. The second church, about ten miles from the first and lower down the peninsula, was built near the place afterwards called Arlington, the home of John Custis, immigrant, of whom many anecdotes still linger in local traditions, and whose tomb, with the singular epitaph composed by himself, is still at Arlington. This church was known as "Magothy Bay Church." Presumably, it was another log building, in no way superior to that at the "Ffishinge Poynte"; and as there seems to be no record of any rector, it may be assumed that Mr. Cotton had charge of both. Proof of its existence in 1645 is found in an early county record, which ordered that all citizens should carry "arms and fixed ammunition." Such as were caught without these were to be "punished" by being required "to clear paths to the new church," "enclosed by a stockade."
It must have been at the "Ffishing Poynte" church that Marie Drewe stood up and asked "forgiveness of the congregation" for some "ugly words" she had used towards Joane Butler. It is evident that Church and State in Virginia were as essentially one as in the Mother Country. The "Act" for suppression of gossip was passed September, 1634; its enforcement was left to the Church, as this extract shows. The two women had quarreled, and reviled each other in no choice language. Joane was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced.
"Upon dew examination, it is thought fit by the board that s'yd Joane Butler shall be drawen over the King's Creek at the starne of a boat or canoux; also, the next Sabbath day in, the tyme of devyne (divine) servis, between the first and second lesson, present herself before the minister, and say after him as followeth: 'I, Joane Butler, doe acknowledge to have called Marie Drewe h----, and hereby I confess I have done her manifest wronge; wherefore I desire before this congregation that the s'yd Marie Drewe will forgiv me; and also that this congregation will joyne (join) me in prayer, that God may forgive me.'"
Marie Drewe was then arrested, and received the same sentenced. She retracted, asked "forgiveness" in the church and escaped the ducking.
The name of the peninsula was changed from "Accowmake" to Northampton in 1642. Various traditions give various reasons for the selection of the name. The best authenticated seems to be that it was a compliment to the Earl of Northampton. At this date there were few settlers in the upper part, and Hungars Parish is not yet mentioned. In 1662 the peninsula was divided, the upper county resuming the original name, Accomac, the lower retaining that of Northampton.,
The first formally organized vestry was in obedience to an order of the Court at James City.
"At a court holden in Accawmacke the 14th day of Sept., 1635"; (the peninsula being then called Accomack).
‡Bishop Meade, Vol. I, p. 85 says: "Such was the effect, both in Virginia and England, that a commission was sent over to the Gov., Sir George Yardley, to seek for a settlement on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for those who remained. That plan, however, was never put into execution, though steps were taken towards it."
"At this court Mr. Wm. Cotton, minister, presented an order of the court from James City, for the building of a Parsonage ordered by the vestry and because there have heretofore been no formal vestry nor vestrymen appointed, we have from this present day appointed to be vestrymen those whose names are underwritten:
"Wm. Cotton minister, Capt. Thomas Graves, Mr. Obedience Robins, Mr. John Howe, Mr. Wm. Stone, Mr. Burdett, Mr. Wm. Andrews, Mr. John Wilkins, Mr. Alex Mountjoy, Mr. Edw. Drew, Mr. Wm. Beniman, Mr. Stephen Charlton.
"And further we do order that the first meeting of the syd. vestry-men shall be upon the feast day of St. Michael the Arch-Angel, being the 29th day of September."
In accordance with that order of the court, the vestry meeting was held and record entered of the same as follows:
"A vestry heald, 29th day of Sept. 1635.
"Capt. Thomas Graves, Mr. John Howe, Mr. Edward Drew, Mr. Obedience Robins, Mr. Alex. Mountjoy, Mr. Wm. Burdett, Mr. Wm. Andrews, Mr. Wm. Stone, Mr. Wm. Beniman."
At this meeting an order was made providing for building the parsonage house.
As the parsonage here mentioned was for the use of Rev. Mr. Cotton, it must have been built in the Magothy Bay section of the county, near his two churches. It was ordered to be built of "wood"-presumably sawed lumber, not logs-forty feet wide, eighteen feet deep, and nine feet "to the valley," with a chimney at each end, and beyond the chimneys a small room on each side-"one for the minister's study and the other for a buttery."
"Mr. Cotton seems to have had considerable difficulty in collecting his tithes, despite the fact that good buildings began to be erected," and every home had its garden and orchard. Suit was brought in 1637 against Henry Charleton for non-payment of dues.
"John Waltham, Randal Revel and John Ford deposed on oath that the heard Henry Charlton say that if he had had Mr. Cotton without the churchyeard, he would have kict him over the Palysadoes, calling of him Black catted (coated) raskall. Upon the complaint of Mr. Cotton against the said Charlton and the depositions as above expressed, it is ordered that the said Charleton shall for the s'yd offence build a part of stocks, and set in them three severall Sabouth days in the time of Dyvine Servis, and there ask Mr. Cotton forgiveness." The punishment was doubtless salutary and conducive to proper respect for clerical dignity.
There seems to have been no legal title to the ground upon which the Magothy Bay church was built prior to 1691, for in that year William Willett conveys, in consideration of 20,000 pounds of tobacco, 600 acres of land to William Baker,* reserving "one acre of land, on which church now stands," "to remaine for that use as long as the parish 'mindes' to continue the same." This land had been granted by Francis Morrison, Governor of Virginia, to Edward Douglas, and was confirmed by another patent from Governor Andros "to me, William Willett," nephew and heir to said Edward Douglas. This deed of conveyance is a curiosity of superfluous verbiage, and much too long for quotation. It gives the boundaries with great minuteness, mentions "a spring neare the Church or Chappell," and is dated "30 May Anno Regis X, Anno Domini, 1698."
It is probable that successive churches had taken the place of the original structure (as at Jamestown and elsewhere) long before this conveyance of title. The latest built upon this site was still in use in the early years of the nineteenth century, but in 1826 it was pronounced unsafe, town down and the old materials sold at auction.†
Christ church in Eastville was built about this time, and the old silver service for Holy Communion has been used in this church ever since. The pieces have an inscription showing that they were the gift of "John Custis, Esq'r, of Williamsburg," to the lower church of Hungars Parish, 1741. The plate is marked "Ex dono, Francis Nicholson, Esq'r." Date of this gift must have been 1690 to 1693.
*Book of Deeds and Wills, No. 12, page 198, Northampton Records.
†The foundations may still be seen near the Arlington gates.
Mr. Cotton died in 1645. He is called in the Records, "the godly son of Joane Cotton, widow, of Bunbury, Cheshire, England." William Stone, first Protestant Governor of Maryland, was his brother-in-law., Stone resided on Hungars Creek.
Rev. John Rozier (Bishop Meade says Rogers) succeeded Mr. Cotton. An old colonist, in his will speaks of the gentleman as "Deare and respected friend" and Dr. John Holloway bequeaths to him a folio Greek Testament.
In 1639 Nathaniel Eaton, first principal of Harvard, came in Nele's barque to Virginia, where married "Anne Graves, daughter of Thomas Graves, a member of the Dorchester church, who emigrated to Virginia, and died of climatic influence, leaving his daughter a fair patrimony." Eaton became Rozier's assistant, but fled to England in 1646. By the Assembly's Act of 1639-40, ministers of the gospel were allowed ten pounds of tobacco poll to pay their clerk and sexton.
In 1642 the parish was divided. All south of King's Creek was one parish, called Hungars; from King's Creek to Nassawadox was to be known as Nassawadox Parish. In this latter was built a temporary church. On December 23, 1684, Major William Spencer gave to the church wardens of Hungars Parish the land on Hungars Creek, on which "the frame of a church" now stands, and one acre of land surrounding it, being a part of Smith's Field. So we learn that this first Hungars church, like that at Magothy Bay, was built upon land for which no title was obtained, until years had gone by. This church was, perhaps, not abandoned until the "Brick Church," the present Old Hungars, was built.
Hungars Creek is one of those beautiful tidal inlets which give to the Chesapeake counties of Virginia and Maryland such exquisite views of land and water and upon which, even in those early times, charming homes began to cluster; for the earliest colonists settled along these creeks, and their descendants and successors have not been able to improve upon the sites they selected.
Hungars Creek lies between Church Neck, its northern boundary, and Hungars Neck, on the south. The church is in a grove of pines, at the head of this creek. Approaching from the south, the county road passes over a little bridge, which crosses one fork, and from which the little village of Bridgetown ("at which courts were held in early years") takes its name.
In 1691 the parishes were again made one, and from that time until the present, county and parish are the same in extent.
Old records in the Clerks Office:
"Att a council held att James City, Apr. the 21st, 1691.
"Present-the Rt. Hono'ble Francis Nicholson Esq. Lt. Gov. & council.
"Major John Robins and Mr. Thomas Harmanson, Burgesses of the county of Northampton, on behalf of the County of Northampton, by their petition setting forth that the said county is one of the smallest in the colony, doth consist of a small number of tithables, and is divided in two parishes, by reason whereof the Inhabitants of both parishes are soe burdened that they are not able decently to maintain a minister in each parish and therefore prayed the said parishes might by joined in one and goe by the name of Hungars parish, not being desirous to infringe any gift given to Hungars parish, and more especially one by the last will of Stephen Charlton, Which parishes soe joined will not only be satisfactory to the inhabitants but make them capable to build a decent church and maintain an able divine; On consideration whereof Itt is the opinion of this board and accordingly ordered that the whole County of Northampton be from henceforth one parish and goe by the name of Hungars parish, and that the same shall be noe prejudice to the gift of the aforesaid Charlton to the said parish of Hungars and it is further ordered that the Inhabitants of the sd. Parish shall meet at such time and place as the court of the said county shall appoint and make choice of a vestry according to law. Cop. Vera, test, W. Edwards, Cl. Cou.
Then, in accordance with the appointment of the court, at a meeting of the inhabitants of the said county of Northampton, at the courthouse thereof, the 22nd day of June, 1691, the following vestry-men were elected:
Major John Robins, Capt. Custis, Capt. Foxcroft, John Shepheard, Benj. Stratton, Preeson Davis, Benjamin Nottingham, John Powell, Jacob Johnson, Thomas Eyre, John Stoakley, Michael Dickson. It was evidently soon after this step was taken that the Hungars church building was erected.
I have been unable to find the origin or meaning of the name Hungars, nor when it was first applied to the parish. "Hungars Creek" occurs in the records in 1649, possibly earlier. Whether the parish gave name to the creek or the reverse has not been ascertained, nor any convincing explanation of the name itself offered. It has been said that a parish in Northamptonshire, England, bears the same, but the lists of English parishes in the Peabody Library, Baltimore, does not contain a Hungars in any shire. So many of the Indian names were retained that in default of tracing to any English source, I am inclined to believe this is a survival of Indian nomenclature, especially in view of the fact that most of the Eastern Shore creeks still keep their original names, somewhat modified.
Thomas Palmer, clericus, succeeded Rozier; John Armourier was the next minister of the parish and was followed as early as 1651 by the Rev. Thomas Higby, who married the widow of John Wilkins, vestryman. In 1656 Francis Doughty, brother-in-law of Governor Stone and non-conformist, is noted as "Minister and Preacher of Ye Word in this parish, now in Northampton county," and was exhorted by one Ann Littleton in her will to rear "My children in ye most Christian faith." Rev. Thomas Teackle was officiating in the Upper parish (St. George's Accomac,) during Mr. Higby's service in the Lower; all of his predecessors served but a short time, and the records show many suits for their salaries. "Mr. Teackle had his difficulties also, and to the end of his life sought his dues in a legal way."* He had, besides, difficulties not financial. His moral character was fiercely attacked (in one instance by Col. Scarburgh), but he retained the confidence and affection of the people. In is on record in the county that, "on April 28th, 1663, one John Stockley was ordered to give bond for good behavior and to recant in presence of the congregations of Hungars and Nassawadox parishes the next time that the Rev. Thomas Teackle preached in the church, because said Stockley had said the the vestry was 'illegal and unfair' because not chosen by a majority of the people." Mr. Teackle officiated at old St. George's much longer than in Hungars parish; he probably ministered to both at the same time, for the supply of clergymen was seldom equal to the demand, and, faute de mieux, non-comformist divines were sometimes permitted to officiate, "so far as the laws of England and of this colony permit;" but that these loyal Churchmen accepted their services with reluctance, and dispensed with them as soon as practicable, is shown by the following:
"Whereas, Mr. Daniel Richardson, o'r late minister, for want of orders, was found not Orthodox, and therefore hired him from yeare to yeare (to supply the place of minister so farr as the Lawes of England and this country could make him capable) until we could supply ourselves with an able Orthodox divine. And forasmuch as Mr. Isaac Key did present, whom we find very able and worthy, wee of the Vestry and subscribers hereof, doe certifye unto Your Honor that at a vestry, the 8th day of May last past, did discharge the said Richardson from his said ministry, and have since made choice of the said Mr. Isaac Key for o'r minister, who hath accepted and most willingly promised to serve; Wherefore we hereby request your Honor's confirmation by Inducting him into this o'r parish as minister. And your Supplycants shall ever pray. John Stringer, William Kendall, William Walters, John Robins, James Pigot."
To this appeal Governor Berkley assented in these words:
"This worthy, learned Gent., Mr. Key, is soe well knowne to me, that I am most certain you will be happy in having soe deserving a person to officiate you and advise and comfort you in all yo'r spirituall wants and necessityes, & I doe require that he bee immediately Inducted.
Nov. 18, 1676 William Berkeley.
It will be observed that these Churchmen used the word "Orthodox" as applied to a "minister," tp signify that he had been regularly ordained by an English Bishop. Bishop Meade says, "Such was the use of the word orthodox at that time."
Prior to the induction of Mr. Key (in 1671), the "Commissioners of Plantations" had sent over this query to Governor Berkely:
*Rev'd Mr. Teackle acquired considerable land. A farm called Craddock, situated in Craddock's Neck (not far from Old St. George's church, Accomac), remained in possession of descendants of his own name until a few years ago. Many descendants on the Eastern Shore and in Baltimore.
"What course is being taken about instructing the people within your government in the Christian religion, and what provision is there made for the paying of your ministry?" Which elicited the following reply from Berkeley:
"The same coorse that is taken in England, out of towns, every man according to his ability instructing his children. We have fforty-eight parishes in Virginia, and our ministers are well paid, and by my consent should be better, if they would pray oftener and preach less."
In or about the year 1653 col. Stephen Charlton, a wealthy and very prominent citizen, bequeathed his Home-place (situated in Church Neck, at no great distance from Hungars church) to his daughter, Bridgett, for her life, and to her heirs; but if she had no child, then the land was to go to the church wardens, Argail Yardley and John Michael, and to the vestry of Hungars Parish for the support of a rector., It was stipulated that the church was to be open for divine service a certain number of times in every year. Bridgett Charlton married, but had not child; and at her death the parish inherited it. It became the home of many successive rectors. The last resident was the Rev. John Ufford, who became rector in 1843, and resigned in 1850. In his time the church was dispossessed of the property---"robbed" of it, the Church people considered. Bishop Meade says with regard to this act of spoliation:
"The peace and happiness of the Episcopal congregation in Northampton has been much marred for many years by a painful and protracted controversy with the overseers of the poor concerning the glebe. More than two hundred years ago the wealthy and pious Charlton, in view of his approaching dissolution, and in the event of one of his two daughters dying childless, left a portion of that earth which is all the Lord's for the perpetual support of the Church of his fathers, and or that religion which had been his happiness in life, and was now to be his consolation in death. He did this in the exercise of a right recognized by God Himself in the law of His Word, and secured to men by the laws of every government upon earth-the right of disposing of our property by will. * * * The Legislature of Virginia, both under the Colonial Government and since our independence, has, by several acts, ratified the Church's claim. But after a long period of acquiescence in the Church's right, the overseers of the poor, under that act of the Legislature, which had never before been suspected of embracing this case, determined to claim it, and actually did sell it at public auction, conditionally. The question was brought before the Legislature, and a sanction for the sale sought for; but it was dismissed as unreasonable. The question was taken before a court of law, and twice decided in behalf of the Church. An appeal has been taken to a higher court. Years have already been passed in painful controversy. Great have been the expenses to the Church, and much the loss in various ways. * * * The peace of the county has been much impaired by it. Political questions and elections to civil offices have been mixed up with it, and Christians of different denominations estranged from each other. Surely, when our Legislature reserved all private donations from the operation of the law which ordered the sale of glebes, if this case could have been presented to them, and they had been asked whether it could come under the sentence of it, the bitterest enemies of the Episcopal church, and the most unbelieving foes of our religion, would have shrunk with horror from the suggestion."
To complete the story of this transaction, I will only say that the glebe was eventually lost to us. The very fact that the "lower glebes," and the servants and other appurtenances of both glebes were sold soon after the passage of the Act, while the right of the church to the Charlton Glebe was not even questioned, shows conclusively to a fair-minded people how the law was understood at the time. The farm is still known as the Glebe, and is a lasting witness against an injustice.
No sketch of Hungars Parish, however slight, could be complete without this story of our Glebe and its loss; but it is more pleasant to go back to the church itself. Concerning it, however, I have very scant information. About 1750 "Richard Allen conveyed to John Haggoman and his family all his interest in and to pew which he (the said Allen) had built in Hungars church." In 1759 Thomas Preeson, in his will, speaks of "the new church on Hungars Creek," for which he had deeded to the church wardens an acre of ground, and, in return, they had deeded to him "a Pew marked T. P.," in 1751; and in the deed (signed in 1752) it is stated that the church was "a brick church." The land he conveyed was not that on which the church stands, but on the opposite side of the county road, and was, I believe, intended for a burial place. In 1695 the Rev. Samuel Palmer was rector. In 1712 the Rev. Patrick Falconer is minister. He died in 1718, "and after giving much to the poor, he left his property to his brother James, in London, and desired that his body should be buried before the pulpit in old Hungars church." This was done; the sexton's fee for such interments being 300 pounds of tobacco.
Rev. Thomas Dell was the minister until 1729; John Holbroke, until 1747. Rev. Edward Barlow succeeded and died in 1761; Rev. Richard Hewitt died in 1774; and in that year Rev. Mr. McCoskey became rector, remaining until his death in 1803, succeeded by Revs. Gardiner, Davis, Symes and Stephen Gunter. Rev. Simon Wilmer was rector as late as 1836. In that year Rev. W. G. Jackson was elected. After a very severe illness he resigned in 1841, and obtained chaplaincy in the Navy. Rev. J. P. B. Wilmer (son of Dr. Simon Wilmer, and eventually Bishop of Louisiana,) was rector from 1841 to 1843, succeeded by Revs. John Ufford, James Rawson and J. M. Chevers, elected in 1855. Of his successors I have not an accurate list, but Revs. C. Colton, A. S. Johns, Craighill, Ware, Easter, William Nelson Meade, Randall, Carpenter and Thomas are among them.
Prior to the Revolution the interior furnishings of Hungars church were very handsome-all of them brought from England, and most, if not all, of them gifts from Queen Anne. I have seen fragments of the chancel draperies; dark crimson velvet of superb quality, with gold embroidery and bullion fringe, all of which had defied time and retained a brilliancy I have never seen surpassed. Alas! only fragments remained; for in the antagonism to everything English, which followed the Revolution, the Church-still the "Church of England," and without Bishops of her own, fell upon evil times, and was pillaged and desecrated, with none able to protect her. Most of the clergy, being Englishmen, returned to their own country. The deserted churches, still beloved by the faithful, could not be preserved from vandalism, under the name of patriotism. The large pipe organ was taken from the church and destroyed. Tradition says the fishermen in the neighborhood used the metal as "sinkers" for their nets. The beautiful hangings were cut to pieces; doors and windows suffered to fall from their hinges, and nothing left in the church which was coveted by any chance intruder. I have known persons who remembered to have seen cows grazing on the grass growing in the brick paved aisles of St. George's , in Accomac, and Hungars church, doubtless, fared bi better. The silver and the altar linen-given by Queen Anne-were, however, carefully kept, and are still in use, I believe; that is, the silver is used, and the altar cloth kept as a priceless relic, for occasional use.
The unhappy condition of the Church throughout Virginia in the years following the Revolution, and extending into the nineteenth century, is well known, and need not here be dwelt upon. The extracts which follow, from a letter written many years ago, will show how Hungars parish suffered. The writer, a most devoted Churchwoman, says:
"The Episcopal Church in Northampton has been small and feeble, to the grief of all the friends of Zion. I became a communicant on Christmas day, 1813. The communicants were Mrs. Jacob, Mrs. E. Satchell, Mrs. L. Stratton, Mrs. L. Evans, Mrs. H. Parker, Miss Anne Savage and myself. My inestimable friend, the Rev. Mr. Davis, was pastor. Seven other ladies soon after joined the little band. After Mr. Davis' death, the Rev. Mr. Symes, from Norfolk, became rector. Hungars and Magotty Bay churches (the latter, that near Arlington) were both deserted, and worship was conducted in the Courthouse at Eastville. Mr. Symes toiled with untold difficulties for a very short time; removed to South Carolina, and there died.
"Not coming immediately to the rectorship, the Rev. Herbert Marshall, of Rhode Island, officiated for six months.
"Mr. Wilmer's ministry was much blessed. The communicants increased to twenty-two in 1821; and among them were Mr. James Upshur, Mr. Wyatt, r. Winder and Mr. John Harmanson. This was a strong accession; truly we thanked God and took courage. And here allow me to say, the want of male strength and co-operation has ever been the cause of the slow growth of our Church in Northampton. The four gentlemen named above died in quick succession, and the church was again left to the women-'last at the cross and earliest at the sepulcher." In 1827 Dr. William G. Smith joined the church, and has been its consistent and valuable friend. With our subsequent additions and circumstances you are well acquainted. Our ministers have all been choice and faithful; the responsibility is our own. Being the oldest living member, perhaps 'the oldest inhabitant,' I have made these imperfect 'jottings' for your information."
My own recollections begin with the Rev. Simon Wilmer, but the memory is very vague, for I was not three years old at the time of his death. He was very absent-minded and his wife equally so. Many membories of them lingered in the parish, and they were always spoken of with great affection. He is a story often told, which exhibits their absent-mindedness: They had made a visit, their infant child being ith them; and when taking leave were at great pains to see that all their belongings were put into their carriage. Half-way down the avenue leading to the county road they heard a class, and stopped to see what was wanted. "Can we have left anything?" asked his reverence. His wife answered, "Everything that I can think of is here, even the baby's bottle! But there must be something!" The "something" was the baby himself, fast asleep on a sofa. This baby became the Bishop of Louisiana, and was said to have been as absent-minded as his parents. The Rev. Stephen Gunter was Dr. Wilmer's predecessor.
I do not know at what time old Hungars was put in decent repair, and the services resumed, nor under which rector this was accomplished; but long before 1840 it was opened fortnightly for morning service, alternating with Christ church, Eastville. Many of the families in and near Eastville attended both churches regularly. He members of Hungars church living in the upper part of the parish also frequently attended the other church, for the parish was a harmonious unit.
The exterior of the church remained unchanged, but the interior never regained its Colonial splendor, and the chancel furniture and draperies were very simple and inexpensive. There was only one aisle; the pews were large and nearly square, with benches on three sides. Children sat on the front benches, facing their parents. The pulpit was at the side of the church, near a door.
Before 1850 the old church was pronounced unsafe, cracks having appeared in one of the gables, and the walls being slightly out of plumb. An attempt was made, by means of iron rods, to draw the walls back into position, but proving unsuccessful, the cracked gable was pulled down and a portion of each side wall, reducing the length by about one-third. It is, however, more than large enough for its present congregations. The interior was altered in various particulars; two aisles took the place of one, thus reducing the size of the pews, while increasing their number; the pulpet was removed to th chancel.
Bishop Meade gives the following list of vestryen for Hungars church since 1812:
Peter Bowdoin, John Eyre, Nathaniel Holland, John Addison, John Gaffigan, John Upshur, John Windee, Littleton Upshur, George Parker, William Satchell, Thomas Satchell, S. Pitts, Jacob Nottingham, Isaac Smith, John T. Elliott, J. H. Harmanson, James Upshur, Abel P. Upshur, W. Danton, Charles West, W. G. Smith, John Leatherbury, Severn E. Parker, John Ker, T. N. Robins, N. J. Windee, Major Pitts, G. F. Wilkins Simkins, Fisher, Evans, Bell, Adams, Nicholson.
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