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Bishop Thomas Campbell Darst.  The ecclesiastical career of Rev. Thomas Campbell Darst, bishop of the diocese of Eastern Carolina, has been one of exceptional activity, and he has performed service in several fields.  Upon the completion of his course in divinity at the Virginia Seminary he was ordained a deacon of the Protestant Episcopal church, entered the priesthood in the following year, filled different assistant positions and full charges, and on October 8, 1914, was made bishop of the diocese of Eastern Carolina.  Bishop Darst is rector of St. James' Parish of Richmond, Virginia, having previously, 1905 to 1909, been identified with St. Mark's Church, of this city, and in Richmond, as in the other places whither his ministry has taken him, is loved and honored as an ecclesiastic of sincerity and purpose, one who lives the creed he champions.

(I) The family of which Bishop Darst is a member has been long resident in Virginia, its early home in Rockbridge county, where was born Benjamin Darst, grandfather of Bishop Darst.  Benjamin Darst was owner of large lands, which he devoted to agriculture and stock raising, prospering in his operations and acquiring a generous competence.  He was a soldier in the American army in the war of 1812.  Benjamin Darst married Elizabeth Welsh, born at the noted Fancy Hill, Rockbridge county, Virginia, then owned by her father, and among their children was Thomas Welsh, of whom further.

(II) Thomas Welsh Darst, son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Welsh) Darst, was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, in September, 1817, and died in 1882.  His active years were passed in farming, and during the war with the states he held the rank of major of militia, while both of his sons of his first marriage, soldiers in the Confederate States army, met death at the front.  Thomas Welsh Darst married (first) Margaret Miller; (second) in 1859, Margaret Glendy, born in Augusta county, Virginia, November 25, 1830, daughter of John Glendy, a native of Londonderry, Ireland, and his wife, Mary Wilson (Larue) Glendy.  John Glendy was brought to the United States by his parents in infancy and was reared in Augusta county, Virginia, where he resided until 1835, in that year moving to Pulaski county, Virginia, where he farmed on an extensive scale.  Other than the two sons who were killed in battle, Thomas Welsh Darst had two children by his first marriage, the others Elizabeth, married W. F. Howard, of Pulaski county, Virginia, and Mary, married John W. Wilson, of Pulaski county, Virginia.  Children of Thomas Welsh and Margaret (Glendy) Darst: Gillie Wilson, married D. P. Martin, of Salem, Virginia; James C., a resident of Norfolk, Virginia; Margaret, deceased, married Robert Brown, of Pulaski county, Virginia; Frank M., deceased; Thomas Campbell, of whom further.

(III) Rev. Thomas Campbell Darst, youngest of the five children of Thomas Welsh and Margaret (Glendy) Darst, was born in Pulaski county, Virginia, November 10, 1875, and lived on his father's farm until he was thirteen years of age.  The following year, upon the death of his mother, he made his home in Salem, there completing his preparatory education and for two years attending Roanoke College.  For the two years following he was engaged in business in West Virginia and New Jersey, then returning to Roanoke College he completed the course he had begun four years before.  In 1899 ne entered the Virginia Seminary, and was graduated in divinity in the class of 1902, in June of that year becoming a deacon of the Protestant Episcopal church.  For one year he was connected with the parish of Fairmount, West Virginia, and in June, 1903, was ordained into the priesthood, being first assigned to Johns and Meade parish in Fauquier and Amherst counties.  Rev. Darst in 1905 came to St. Mark's Church, of Richmond, and there remained for four years, in December, 1909, taking charge of St. Paul's Church, at Newport News, Virginia.  He returned to Richmond in 1914 as assistant to Rev. William Clark, D. D., rector of St. James' Church, and in May, 1914, upon the death of Dr. Clark, succeeded him as rector.  Additional duties and honors came to Rev. Darst in October of the same year (1914) in his elevation to the office of bishop, his diocese, Eastern Carolina, his investment as bishop occurring on October 8.  That Rev. Darst will worthily uphold the dignity and honor of his high position and that his consecrated service will be happily rewarded is the sentiment in the minds and hearts of his co-laborers in religious work.  Laity and clergy have found him true to every trust, and he is lacking in none of the attributes that comprise the successful minister of the gospel, not the least of which is a life strict in rectitude beyond reproach.  Bishop Darst is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, to which he was elected during his student years.  His other fraternal associations are the Masonic order and the Knights of Pythias.

He married, at "Araby," Fairfax county, Virginia, November 5, 1902, Florence Newton Wise, born in Alexander, Virginia, December 17, 1876, died January 12, 1914, daughter of George Wise, of "Araby," near Alexandria, Virginia, engaged in insurance business.  George Wise married Ida, sister of Colonel William Smoot, of Alexander, Virginia.  Children of Bishop Thomas Campbell and Florence Newton (Wise) Darst: George Wise, born July 16, 1904; Thomas Campbell Jr., born August 31, 1907; Meade Clark, born March 14, 1910.
(Source: Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. IV Transcribed by Chris Davis)

 

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