St. James’ Parish during the Episcopate of
the Right Reverend Arthur Crawshay Alliston Hall, D.D.
Special Convention of
the Diocese was held at St. Paul’s Church, Burlington, June
twenty-two, 1893, for the election of a Bishop to succeed the
Right Reverend William Henry Augustus Bissell, DD
clergymen were present and thirty-three parishes were
represented by the laity.
The Rev. Dr. J. Isham
Bliss, Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Burlington, and President of
the Standing Committee, was the presiding officer of the
Convention, and Mr. Thomas H. Canfield was elected Secretary.
After an address by
the Rev. Dr. Bliss, the Convention proceeded to the election of
The roll of the
clergy and laity was called and it was found that upon the
fourth ballot the Rev. Samuel Hart, DD, of the Diocese of
Connecticut and Dean of the Berkeley Divinity School,
Middletown, had been elected.
After the singing of
the Gloria in Excelsis and closing prayers the Convention
A special Convention
of the Diocese was held at St. Paul’s Church, Burlington, on
Wednesday, August thirty, 1893.
This Convention was called in response to a summons of the
Standing Committee as follows:
"To the Clergy and
Laity of the Diocese of Vermont:
"At a meeting of the
Standing Committee held on the fifth day of July, 1893, it was
"Whereas, the Rev.
Samuel Hart, DD, recently elected Bishop by the Convention of
this Diocese, has declined said election,
"Resolved. That in
accordance with Title 1, Canon 8, Sec. 4, Diocesan Canons, a
special Convention of this Diocese be called to meet in St.
Paul’s Church, Burlington, on Wednesday the thirtieth day of
August next at 11:00 o’clock A.M. to elect a Bishop in place of
William Henry Augustus Bissell, DD, deceased,
"Therefore, I, J.
Isham Bliss, the President of the Standing Com-mittee, do hereby
summon a Special Convention of this Diocese to meet at the time
and place aforesaid.
J. Isham Bliss."
The Convention was
then organized, twenty-seven clergymen being present, and
thirty-five parishes being represented by the Laity, and
proceeded to the election.
The roll of the
Clergy and Laity was called and it was found that upon the
second ballot the Rev. Arthur C. A. Hall, MA, of the Diocese of
Massachusetts had received a majority of votes of both orders
and was therefore elected Bishop.
The Rev. George Lynde
Richardson, DD, in his biography, "Arthur C. A. Hall, Third
Bishop of Vermont" has the following facts of interest in regard
to the election of Bishop Hall: (Arthur C. A. Hall, Third Bishop
of Vermont," by the Rev. George Lynde Richardson. Houghton
Mifflin & Co.)
friend, Mr. Charles E. Graves, of New Haven, Connecticut,
treasurer of Trinity College, Hartford, and a devout churchman,
was allied with Vermont by many ties, and it happened that
immediately after Dr. Hart’s declination, his sisters, Mrs. E.
L. Temple, of Rutland, and Mrs. W. H. Collins, wife of the
Rector of Saint Michael’s, Brattleboro, were visiting him.
"Mr. Graves asked who
would be chosen as Bishop of Vermont, and when they replied that
there seemed to be no one in view, he said that he had heard
that Father Hall, who had been so successful in Boston, would
welcome an opportunity to return to New England, and suggested
that his name should be put forward.
"Mrs. Collins was so
impressed by the possibility that she telegraphed to her husband
and Mrs. Temple communicated in the same way with Mr. Temple,
who was at the time treasurer of the Diocese of Massachusetts
and a layman of wide influence.
"These two men
undertook to consult with the leaders among the clergy and lay
people as to the possibilities of such a choice.
"There were, of
"Mr. Temple used to
say that when he first suggested the idea he was sure of being
met by one of three objections.
"Some people said,
‘You can’t elect him.’ Others said: ‘The Cowley Fathers will not
release him’ - while others declared that the ‘Standing
Committee would never confirm the election.’ It proved, however,
that no one of them was right. Father Hall was elected on the
second ballot. His reply to the committee that notified him of
his election was that his acceptance must wait upon the action
of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist and the Standing
Committee in America, but implied that; if this action were
favorable he would accept.
"It was not until
October that the Chapter was held in Cowley, and when the
question was submitted as to whether or not Father Hall should
be released in the event that his election was confirmed, there
was but one dissenting vote. It was felt that Vermont was truly
a missionary field and one to which the life of a member of the
Order might fitly be devoted.
"Father Hall then
accepted the election in the following letter:
"Saint John’s House,
October 3, 1893.
"I am now able to
declare my readiness to accept the office to which the Diocese
of Vermont has chosen me, provided, of course, that the election
receives the confirmation required by the Canons. You will
pardon the delay since my acknowledgment of your notification of
the election. This was unavoidable. Besides the time required
for my own consideration of the very important question, a
Chapter of the Brotherhood could not be held to consider the
subject of my release until there has been opportunity to
communicate with members at a distance.
"All has now been
done in conformity with the Statutes, and the Society of Saint
John the Evangelist, with the concurrence of the Bishop of
Oxford as Visitor, has formally released me from all obligations
to the community, that I may be free to accept your call.
"Begging your prayers that all may be for the glory of God and
the good of His Church,
"I am, your faithful
servant in Christ,
ARTHUR C. A. HALL."
The services at the
consecration of the Rt. Rev. Arthur Crawshay Alliston Hall, DD,
as third Bishop of the Diocese of Vermont, were held in St.
Paul’s Church, Burlington, on February second, 1894, the Feast
of the Purification.
The services began
with a celebration of the Holy Communion at 7:30 A.M. with the
Rev. William H. Collins, Rector of St. Michael’s Church,
Brattleboro, as Celebrant, and with the Rev. Canon J. B.
Davidson of the Diocese of Montreal, Canada, as Epistler, and
the Rev. Henry M. Tarberl of St. Stephen’s Church, Boston,
Massachusetts, as Gospeler.
service was held at 11 o’clock, with the following Bishops
The Consecrator, the
Rt. Rev. Dr. Henry Adams Neeley, Bishop of Maine, acting for the
Presiding Bishop of the Church; the Co-Consecrators, the Rt.
Rev. Dr. William Woodruff Niles, Bishop of New Hampshire and the
Rt. Rev. Dr. William Lawrence, Bishop of Massachusetts; the
Presenting Bishops, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Leighton Coleman, Bishop of
Delaware and the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton, Bishop of Fond du
The Epistle was read
by the Bishop of Fond du Lac; the Gospel by the Archbishop of
Ontario, the Rt. Rev. John T. Lewis; the sermon was preached by
the Bishop of Delaware.
The Presbyters in
attendance on the bishop-elect were the Rev. Dr. J. Isham Bliss,
of the Diocese of Vermont, and the Rev. Dr. Lucius Waterman, of
the Diocese of New Hampshire.
The Rev. George Y.
Bliss acted as Bishop Neeley’s Chaplain and the Rev. William
Farrar Weeks as Master of Ceremonies.
sermon was a scholarly discourse which emphasized that a great
trust was committed to our branch of Christ’s Church when in the
language uniformly found in the royal charters laid upon those
who applied for them, is enjoined "the duty of evangelizing the
In 1853 Sir Humphrey
Gilbert’s proposed expedition was commended to the English
people as having as its chief object: "the carriage of God’s
Word into those mighty and vast countries.
It was the faith of
the Church of England, he said, that was chosen in those early
days to be God’s instrument for evangelizing the New World. Yet
for two whole centuries this Church lived in this country,
Episcopal only in name, with no adequate means of propagating
the faith. Fidelity to the principles underlying the Episcopate
finally gained its own reward in the establishment of Episcopal
government in the United States.
"To the number of
those who have been charged with this solemn trust on behalf of
Christ’s Church, is added one who has been trained under the
best of instructors and one who is well fitted to be an
endearing link between the venerated mother and daughter, as
loyal as any she has ever borne."
Bishop Hall presided
over the 104th annual Convention of the Diocese, which was held
at St. Luke’s Church, St. Albans, June seven, 1894. A brief
outline of the first convention address of Bishop Hall will
reveal some of the working principles, which guided him in his
administration of the affairs of the Diocese, and also point out
the secret of his rare leadership.
person," he said, "will imagine that development involves
identity of method."
"The same principles
under different circumstances and at different times will be
manifest in varying forms, and each man, be he Bishop or Priest,
must seek to be his best self, not a poor reproduction of some
predecessor, and to use his gifts, whatever they may be, for the
up-building of the work which is entrusted to him for a time."
As to Lay Readers
Bishop Hall felt that without this help many of our
congregations would have suffered badly, yet he feared a danger
lest a permitted use should become an abuse.
The Canons of the
general Church carefully guard the sanction, which they give to
the ministrations of Lay Readers.
1. They must receive
a formal and written license from the Bishop of the Diocese.
2. Where there is a Rector such license is only to be given on
his request and recommendation.
3. This license can only be given for a definite period, in no
case longer than a year, at the end of which time it may be
4. The license is given for a particular place.
5. A Lay Reader is always to work under direction, either of the
Minister in Charge or of the Bishop.
6. This applies to the sermons he reads to the congregation.
7. A special license is required from the Bishop to authorize
the Lay Reader to deliver addresses of his own.
It is a distinct
abuse, he maintained, that a Parish or Mission should be in
charge of a Lay Reader.
The reason is, he
said, that apart from the probable injury to the young man,
without the grace and responsibility of Holy Orders, the
practice tends to lower the whole conception of the pastoral
office, too little understood among our people generally, as if
the chief work of the clergy was to conduct services and to
deliver sermons, instead of being (quoting the words of Richard
Hooker) "spiritual and ghostly physicians, the guides and
pastors of redeemed souls, whose office doth not only consist in
general persuasiveness to amendment of life, but also in the
private, particular cure of diseased minds."
As to the celebration
of Holy Communion the Bishop said we should beware of anything
that tends to sanction the idea that the Sacrament of Our Lord’s
Body and Blood is an occasional rite for especially devout
persons. An addition to the regular Sunday morning service,
rather than the normal and central act of the Church’s approach
to God, the Lord's Service for the Lord's Day, without taking
part in which no primitive Christian would have been considered
to have properly kept Sunday.
"So far as I know,"
said Bishop Hall, "there are only ten parishes in the Diocese
with a regular weekly celebration of the Holy Communion.
"I trust that before long every parish will have a Sunday
Eucharist, or at least that every priest will celebrate within
the limits of his Cure each Sunday, either at an earlier hour or
at the forenoon service. The practice of celebrating the Holy
Communion in the afternoon, in mission stations at a distance
from the central church, I cannot approve, as we should avoid
anything that would seem to show our indifference to truly
The counsel of the
Bishop here given in both these matters was undoubtedly at
variance with much of the practice of those days, but his
leadership was strong and as the years passed these vigorously
uttered teachings resulted in the establishment of a normal rule
for the diocese.
As to vested choirs
Bishop Hall was not so successful in opposing what had become a
prevailing custom in the American Episcopal Church. Of women in
vestments he said: "I cannot think that the novelty of ‘vested
female choristers,’ at any rate of girls dressed up like boys is
at all to be commended. I have no sort of objection to girls and
women singing in church; nor should I seriously object to the
female choristers wearing a distinctive dress, if this be
thought necessary or desirable, but then let the garb be
feminine; to adopt what by tradition is a species of male
ecclesiastical attire - cassock, cotta and cap - seems to me a
great mistake, giving in the church apparent countenance to the
idle but mischievous attempt of some to obliterate the
distinctions between the sexes, whereas our real aim should be
in all ways to help both man and woman to be their very best,
each according to their kind."
according to the principles of the Church," the Bishop said,
"has been from the beginning a conspicuous feature at least in
the ideal of the Diocese of Vermont.
"Our two schools must
be a subject of deep and anxious interest to a new Bishop.
"Both have done good
work in the past. For myself, I shall not be content until they
are placed on a more truly diocesan basis; the financial
responsibility and so the real management being shouldered by
the Trustees; and the charges so reduced that we may not be Out
of reach of the average Vermont boys and girls, for whose
education, rather than of pupils from a distance, the Schools
are primarily intended.
"To attain both of
these objects Endowments are necessary, and for help of this
kind, even in comparatively small sums, I would mast earnestly
During the Episcopate
of Bishop Hall the following clergymen served as Rectors of St.
The Rev. James
Curtiss Carnahan (1894-1897)
The Rev. Henry B. Ensworth (1897-1899)
The Rev. S. Halsted Watkins (1900-1904)
The Rev. Alfred Taylor (1905-1911)
The Rev. W. M. Warlow (1911-1915)
The Rev. Van Rennselaer Gibson (1917-1918)
The Rev. Sherwood Roosevelt (1918-1923)
The Rev. John Mills Gilbert (1923-1925)
The Rev. George Robert Brush (1926-1939)
At a meeting of the
Vestry of St. James’ Church held on September tenth, 1893, a
call was extended to the Rev. James Curtiss Carnahan of Geneva,
New York, to the rectorship of the parish with salary at the
rate of $700 a year and the use of the parsonage.
At this time the
diocesan Journal shows that there were 85 families, 159
communicants and a Sunday School, including teachers, of 58. The
offerings for Diocesan Missions were $37.79 and for Domestic
Missions from the Sunday School, $25.04.
The services were
held twice each Sunday in the church, once every other Sunday in
the Union Church at Sunderland, once on each important Holy Day,
twice between Sundays in each week during Lent, once each day in
Holy Week and twice on Good Friday.
Mr. Carnahan had
gained a valuable experience of ten years in business before
studying for Holy Orders.
He was born at
Ravenna, Ohio, April eighth, 1858. After graduation from the
Ravenna High School, he entered Wesleyan University, Middletown,
Connecticut, in 1875.
In 1878, while still
an undergraduate at Wesleyan University he decided, on account
of his health, to give up his studies for a time, and went to
Pittsford, New York, where he entered the employ of Rand and
Company, powder manufacturers.
In 1887 Mr. Carnahan
married Susan Eliza Sutherland. In 1889 he entered Hobart
College where he graduated with honors in 1891, being elected a
member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. For several years he was
an Instructor in Greek at Hobart College.
The Rev. George R.
Brush, of the class of 1892, was one of his students in Greek.
Mr. Carnahan was
ordained to the Diaconate at Dresden, New York, by Bishop Coxe
on April sixth, 1891, and at Christ Church, Pittsford,
New York, he was
ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Coxe on May twenty-seventh,
Soon after his
ordination to the Priesthood he was called to the rectorship of
St. James’ Church, Arlington, where he labored faithfully for
Mr. Carnahan was a
scholar and also a man of practical business qualifications.
In 1895 the chairman
of the Diocesan Education Committee, the Rev. Edmund B. Smith,
of Vergennes, reporting for the Committee, advocated the
establishment of parochial schools in some parishes, stating
that in the Public Schools Agnosticism was in some places openly
taught, and that the highest Christian virtues were often
practically suppressed. Mr. Smith mentioned the fact that in
Arlington such a school had been opened during the past year.
Mrs. Carnahan, in
writing of her husband’s work in Arlington says that in the
summer of 1894 a young teacher was secured, and Mr. Carnahan and
he conducted a school in the lower room of the Town Hall, for
pupils who had finished the grades in the Public School.
It will be remembered that during the rectorship of the Rev.
Gemont Graves such a school was maintained for several years.
This effort on Mr.
Carnahan’s part was evidently not sufficiently supported as
several of the students went away to school the next year and
the few that were left came to the Rectory for their studies.
Mrs. Carnahan tells
of Mr. Carnahan’s "call" to Sherburne.
The Waldo Clement
family of New York spent the summer of 1896 in Arlington; Mr.
Carnahan tutored their son and his friend in Greek that summer.
When the Clement
family left Arlington Mr. Carnahan gave the son a bag of
tomatoes grown in his garden at the Rectory.
Mrs. Clement exclaimed: "There! That is the man for mother’s
(The Church of Our
Saviour at Sherburne was erected and endowed by Mrs. Charles
Clement in memory of her family, together with a Rectory and
Farm, the amount of the endowment being $35,000.00.)
This is the inside
history of Mr. Carnahan’s call to the Church and Farm at
Sherburne where he and his wife went in January 1897, and where
he ministered faithfully for nearly twenty-two years.
He died in Sherburne,
Vermont, October twenty-seventh, 1918 at the age of sixty years
and was buried in Pittsford, New York.
On May fourteenth, 1897 a Call was extended to the Rev. Henry
Boardman Ensworth of Brownsville, Diocese of Pittsburgh, to the
rectorship of St. James’ Parish.
Mr. Ensworth accepted
the call and entered upon the charge of the parish June
During the interval
between the rectorship of Mr. Carnahan and Mr. Ensworth, the
Vestry voted to build a recess chancel.
The funds raised for
this purpose by subscription by Mrs. Jesse Burdett amounted to
$1,677.80. The contract for the work was awarded to Mr. Lyman
who made a bid of $1,750. The total amount of his services was
$1,912.70, leaving the parish with a debt of $234.90.
In May 1899 a
proposition was made by the Rev. Charles S. Hale, of Claremont,
New Hampshire, to complete the work of the renovation of the
church without any charge to the parish.
The offer was made in
view of a proposal by Mr. Horace Weston Thompson of Bellows
Falls, to complete the improvements in the chancel in memory of
his wife, Mrs. Georgianna Thompson, provided that the
supervision of the work be placed in the hands of the Rev. Dr.
The Vestry accepted this offer in the following resolution:
"Whereas the Rev.
Charles S. Hale has submitted a proposition for the reseating
and the re-flooring of the church, Resolved, that the Rev.
Charles S. Hale be and is hereby authorized to carry out his
plans and to make such other changes and alterations in the
church as may seem to him necessary, provided that the needful
funds can be secured without placing any pecuniary encumbrance
on the parish."
The important changes included the removal of the galleries, the
high pews, the high pulpit, the installation of the organ in the
chancel, and the refurbishing and reseating of the church and
chancel. The making and carving of the woodwork in the chancel
and sanctuary stalls and the placing of the large window above
the altar were done by a local firm, A. D. Canfield,
manufacturers of sashes, blinds and doors. Charles Canfield, a
member of the firm, son of Orlando Canfield, was an expert
cabinet-maker and wood-carver, and the beautiful and churchly
workmanship in the chancel and sanctuary was done by him
assisted by his brother, Frank N. Canfield who was for many
years a vestryman and in the later years of his life was Senior
On the floor of the
chancel was placed the following inscription in brass:
"To the Glory of God
and in Memory of Georgianna Thompson this chancel was finished
and furnished." - 1899
The Diocesan Journal
of 1900 states that "the chancel and walls of the church have
been decorated and the church refurbished through the generosity
of Mr. Horace W. Thompson of Bellows Falls, in loving memory of
his wife, a former parishioner of St. James."
A mural Tablet to her
memory was placed in the chancel on the south wall and a
beautiful communion service was presented by her two sons.
Bishop Hall also
mentioned the improvements in the church in his address to the
convention in 1900, stating that it was a matter for
congratulation and thankfulness that new churches had been built
and consecrated during the year at Castleton and Middletown
Springs and that the church building at Arlington had been
"For the supervision
of this work," he said, "resulting in one of the most beautiful
and devotional interiors in Vermont, we are greatly indebted to
a former Rector, the Rev. Charles S. Hale, of Claremont, New
At a Vestry meeting
on January thirty-first, 1900 the following testimonial was
"The Wardens and
Vestry of St. James’ Church, Arlington, Vermont, desire to place
upon their permanent records this expression of their gratitude
and indebtedness to Mr. Horace Weston Thompson, of Bellows
Falls, Vermont, and to the Rev. Charles Stuart Hale, of
Claremont, New Hampshire. To Mr. Thompson for the generosity
with which he has renewed and beautified the church in which his
beloved wife was so long a worshipper; a fitting testimonial to
her memory, which is keenly appreciated by all in this parish
who had the pleasure and privilege of associating with her in
those earlier days of her useful and kindly life. To Mr. Hale
for the very free gift of his time and talents in directing this
work and bringing it to such a successful conclusion, most
practical proof of his abiding interest in the people among whom
he did his first parochial work.
Signed, EDWARD C.
Secretary for the Vestry."
The writer chanced to
mention to a friend, whose childhood was spent in Arlington,
that he was gathering materials for a history of the parish.
"I have very vivid
pictures of the Arlington church in 1895," she said. "We were
spending our summers here then. I was a little tot about eleven
years old, and I had just been confirmed and had been charged by
my rector to go to church regularly wherever I might be. I can
remember the high backed pews. We were taught in the parish
where I was confirmed to kneel on the floor for the prayers, but
the people here at that time were not so particular about the
"When we girls came
into our pews we knelt down and were lost to view. This
furnished some amusement for the congregation.
"We were quite fascinated by the gates at the ends of the pews,
and it was a special thrill to be the one to close and lock the
"We were very devoted to the organist, Mrs. Clara Stewart, who
led the choir for many years. She was a very religious and
devout person. I remember that Mrs. Ensworth, the Rector’s wife,
was also one of our favorites.
"When we first came
to the parish the church had not only high-backed pews, but also
the high pulpit and galleries, a mark of the church of the old
time. A few years afterward changes were made. The recess
chancel was added; the high pulpit and galleries were taken down
and the organ and choir were removed to the chancel.
"I think you ought to
have in your book a little inside history about the ‘hanging
pulpit.’ We girls liked to watch the men as they were at work on
the repairs of the church. We were particularly interested in
the construction of the pulpit. Charles Canfield, son of Orlando
Can-field, an expert cabinetmaker, was doing the work, and was
assisted by Mr. Frank Canfield, a wood carver. We did not like
the way they were building the pulpit and told them so. I said -
‘You ought to have a "hanging pulpit" (speaking as if they ought
to know that was the correct thing). They are much better than
the pulpits with posts built up from the floor.’
"What might be a
‘hanging pulpit?’ they asked.
"After explaining our
idea, very crudely, of a pulpit with an invisible support, the
men seemed to be impressed with it and began to experiment with
the result that the hanging pulpit became a reality.
"It was accomplished
by the placement of an iron bar in the wall and projecting it
under the pulpit for its support. For nearly fifty years this
pulpit has stood with no evidence of any impending disaster.
Bishop Hall was apparently a little skeptical of it and
preferred to preach standing in the chancel."
Careful research has
been made to gain information in regard to the Rev. Henry
Ensworth but his connection with the parish was of so short
duration, less than two years, that little data is available.
presented his resignation to the Vestry at its meeting on May
third, 1899, which was laid on the table.
As a Vestry meeting
held on June eighth, 1899, the resignation of Mr. Ensworth was
On February sixth,
1900, the Vestry extended a call to the Rev. Sherwood Roosevelt
The connection of Mr.
Roosevelt with the parish at this time and the reason for his
decision not to accept the call is stated in a letter from Mrs.
Roosevelt recently received.
Mrs. Roosevelt says
that her husband came to Arlington in the winter of 1 899-1900
after a severe illness.
He held the first
service in the renovated church when the chancel was added, the
seats changed and the church decorated.
Mr. Roosevelt came to
Arlington through Dr. James H. Canfield, Mrs. Dorothy Canfield
When the chancel was
dedicated in May 1900, the Bishop (Bishop Hall) and several
clergy, former Rectors were present.
Mr. Roosevelt was
called as Rector at this time, but felt, Mrs. Roosevelt says,
that he could not accept for family reasons.
"But we never lost a
chance," she says, "to go to Arlington, and during the eight
years that Mr. Roosevelt was connected with the City Mission
Society in New York we always spent our vacations in Arlington,
and one time spent two months in the summer when the Rector went
On September seventh,
1900 a call was extended by the Vestry to the Rev. S. Halsted
Watkins, of Calvary Parish, New York.
The call was accepted
by Mr. Watkins in the following letter:
"To the Wardens and
Vestrymen of St. James’ Parish, Arlington, Vermont.
"I hereby accept the
rectorship of St. James’ Church, and I will enter upon my duties
on All Saints’ Day, November first. In reaching my decision I
have sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit who alone can give
me wisdom and strength for the work whereunto I believe He has
"In full reliance
upon Divine help, and counting on the loyal support and hearty
cooperation and sympathy of all my parishioners I anticipate
with joy our work for Christ and His Church.
S. H. WATKINS."
In making special
mention of the lives and works of the various Rectors of this
parish the object is not a perfunctory one, but primarily to do
honor to those who have served the Church in a country parish
which may be regarded as representing the average rural parish
The Rectors of this
parish as a group, too, represent the average type of clergyman
in Vermont, each making his individual contribution, some
excelling in learning, others in preaching, still others as
The Rev. Mr. Watkins
was one of the rare priests who was gifted as scholar, preacher
His ministry in
Arlington was fruitful not only in the parish where he became
much beloved, but in the community.
When in his later
ministry he sought a home he found it here in Arlington, and
during his years of retirement he became a leader in community
enterprises and because of his interest and activities on behalf
of the local baseball team, the Athletic Association of the
town, after his death, as their tribute to him, linked his name
to the community baseball field with the following inscribed
standard erected on the field: "The Watkins Memorial Baseball
Watkins studied at Union College, Schenectady, New York, where
he was graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1882,
receiving the Master of Arts degree three years later.
He graduated from the
Berkeley Divinity School in Middletown, Connecticut, in 1885. He
was ordained Deacon in 1885, and Priest in 1886 when he was an
Assistant at St. Andrew’s Church, Meriden, Connecticut, and
became Assistant at the Church of the Ascension, New Haven in
1888. In 1891 he went to Grace Church, Norwalk, Connecticut,
where he was Rector for six years.
In 1897 he came to
New York to be Vicar of Calvary Chapel.
From 1900 to 1911 Mr.
Watkins was in Vermont, at St. James Arlington for four years
(1900-1904) and at St. Lukc’s Church, St. Albans, seven years
During his rectorship
at Arlington Mr. Watkins not only succeeded in a marked degree
in advancing the spiritual welfare of the parish, but he was
actively interested in diocesan work. As an instance of his
interest he joined with the Rector at Bennington, Rev. Philip
Schuylcr, in starting a mission at North Pownal, Vermont. While
these two priests were engaged in work there ten persons were
That the Vestry
appreciated the services and ministry of Mr. Watkins is shown by
the following resolution adopted by the Vestry in May 1902.
"In view of the
magnificent work done in this parish by our Rector the Rev. S.
H. Watkins since assuming charge of our church,
"Resolved: That the
Vestry extend to Rev. S. H. Watkins their heartfelt thanks and
assurances of their hearty support in the future as in the past.
"Resolved: That his
salary be $850 per annum and the use of the Rectory commencing
May 1, 1902."
During Mr. Watkins’
rectorship a memorial Bronze Tablet was given by Mr. Sylvester
Deming in memory of his mother Mrs. Mary Chittenden Deming, who
was a devoted member of the parish for nearly half a century.
A font of white
marble was also given by Mr. J. R. Judson in memory of his wife,
Mrs. Virginia P. Judson.
Returning to New York
in 1911, Mr. Watkins was Chaplain 0f the Tombs Prison for eight
years, and was again in Vermont from 1919 to 1922 as Rector of
St. Paul's church, Burlington.
In 1922 and 1923, he
was Chaplain for the New York City Mission. After his retirement
in 1930, Mr. Watkins lived in Arlington, and in 1932 he received
the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Union College as
a tribute to his work in the New York City Mission and in
recognition of his completion of fifty years in the ministry and
priesthood of the Church.
Dr. Watkins was a
deputy to the General Conventions of 1910 and 1922 and also was
an examining Chaplain and a member of the Standing Committee in
the Diocese of Vermont.
Dr. Watkins married
Miss Helen Randolph Smith, of New York City and Bridgeport,
Connecticut, who died in 1934. Later he married Mrs. Anne White.
His daughter is Mrs. Edward Cushing, of New Canaan, Connecticut,
who was formerly on the editorial staff of the New York Herald
Dr. Watkins died in
the Albany City Hospital on May twenty-eighth, 1938. A Requiem
Eucharist and the Burial Office were held at St. James Church,
Arlington, on May thirty-first, 1938.
The following clergy
took part in these services: at the Requiem, - the Rev. Philip
Schuyler, assisted by the Rev. George R. Brush, Rector.
At the Burial Office,
- the Rt. Rev. Vedder Van Dyck, DD; the Rev. Norman P. Dare, of
Bennington; the Rev. Stanley C. Ripper, and the Rev. William F.
Lewis, of Burlington; the Rev. Henry Hogg, of Granville, New
York; and the Rev. C. H. McCurdy, of Jamaica, Vermont.
The interment was in
the St. James’ Church Cemetery, Arlington.
The Rev. Alfred
Taylor succeeded the Rev. S. Halsted Watkins as Rector of St.
James’ Parish, entering upon the rectorship in March 1905.
He is remembered as a good musician with an unusually fine tenor
voice. His activities were especially appreciated in his
leadership of the choir. With Mr. Clarence E. Hard as organist
and Mr. Taylor’s musical talents in the choir the services of
the church were impressive.
It is recorded in the
Mountain Echo of February 1907 that an organ recital was given
in the church by Mr. H. W. Congdon, of Brooklyn, New York,
assisted by the choir.
Mr. Taylor is also
remembered as a good pastor and an active missionary worker.
During his rectorship
regular services with good congregations were held at
Sunderland, and there was also an active Sunday School there.
The Rector in 1908 reported in the Mountain Echo that special
missionary work was being done by the Woman’s Auxiliary and that
meetings were held in the Burdett House loaned by Mr. John L.
Mr. Taylor endeared
himself to his parishioners by his friendly and in-formal
Mrs. Mary A. Adams,
of Bennington, who was then living in what, was the Holden
House, but now the home of Dr. Russell, remembers that Mr.
Taylor was fond of dropping in to see them and eating with them
in the kitchen.
Other pastors have
found that housewives rather enjoy the Rector’s informal chat on
the kitchen doorstep perhaps when a cake is just ready to go
into the oven.
Alfred Taylor was an
Englishman, born in England February sixth, 1856.
He came to Vermont in
1897 and in February of that year became Rector of St. James’
Church, Hydeville, Vermont.
After a rectorship of
two years Mr. Taylor was called to the diocese of Connecticut.
From Connecticut he
returned to Vermont in 1905 to become Rector of this parish.
After a rectorship of
four years he resigned to take the position of Canon of the
Cathedral at Albany, New York.
In 1890 Mr. Taylor
was married to Nellie Agnes Knapp, of Chestertown, New York; the
ceremony took place in Glens Falls, New York. The Rev. Fenwick
M. Cookson officiated.
Mr. Taylor died
December 19, 1932.
His funeral occurred
in the Church of the Messiah, Chestertown, New York, with the
Rev. V. A. Springsted and the Rev. W. W. Lockwood officiating.
The Rev. William
Meyler Warlow began his rectorship of St. James’ Parish on May
eighth, 1911 and continued his ministry in the parish until
His daughter, Mrs.
Constance May Lyons, of Montpelier, at the writer’s request has
kindly contributed a few facts relating to Mr. Warlow’s personal
life and ministry.
Mr. Warlow was born
in Monmouth, Wales, and received the degree of Master of Arts
from Queens College, Cambridge University.
He rowed in the
Cambridge and Oxford boat races and since his return to England
in 1915 he has attended the annual dinner and reunion of the
members of his crew every year.
Mr. Warlow’s first
parish was in Liverpool where he was Curate of the Cathedral
He also ministered in
Kelso, Scotland, and in Henlow, Bedfordshire, and Lincolnshire,
After coming to
America he took charge of three mission churches in Grand
Leaving the diocese
of Michigan he came to the diocese of Vermont where he was first
Rector of Grace Church, Sheldon, and then came to Arlington.
In October 1886, Mr.
Warlow married Helen DeBugh Lawson, daughter of Sir Henry DeBugh
Lawson, Bart Gattenley Castle, Yorkshire, England. They had two
children, Mrs. Charles Lyons, of Montpelier, Vermont, and Capt.
Sydney Warlow, Royal Air Force, England.
Mrs. Warlow died seven years ago in England.
Mr. Warlow was very
fond of walking, and while he was in Vermont would climb
mountains and visit people who hardly ever saw a minister. He
was also fond of story telling and had a keen sense of humor.
The Rev. Walter Bamford who was Rector of Zion Church,
Manchester, at the time Mr. Warlow was in Arlington used to
speak of him as a "cheery person.
Mrs. Lyons says that
her father booked his passage on the Lusitania to return to
England on that fateful year.
At the last minute a
newspaperman in Bennington, Vermont, begged him to cancel his
passage for another boat, which he did.
He sailed on an
American steamer and the Lusitania passed them and they waved.
The next day they received word that she had been sunk by a
Today Mr. Warlow is
eighty-one years old, and in writing to his daughter a few weeks
ago from England he said that he was quite well and so far safe
from the terrible bombs, which come over them by day and night.
He sleeps in a room
on the ground floor and if necessary he goes down into a room in
the basement when the house shakes and the bedrock’s.
Mrs. Dorothy Canfield
Fisher tells the following story of an incident during Mr.
"Of course with the
arrival of each new Rector in a parish an adjustment is
necessary between him and his parishioners - unless by chance he
may have grown up among them. But in all the years of the life
of St. James, no boy in the Church had ever become a clergyman
and returned to his old home as Rector. So that each new
incumbent has been obliged to make the same researches among his
new charges, to see what kind of people they are. This
preliminary exploration has always been carried on with notably
patient good-will on both sides, the people of the parish as
much interested to see what kind of a personality the new Rector
has, and what his family is like, as they too learn the ways of
Vermonters among whom they find themselves.
"An instance of this
is a tiny episode in the early days of Mr. Warlow’s stay here,
which occasioned much good natured laughter among the people of
town. Some Arlingtonians, interested in bird-lore, following a
bird he was trying to identify, had stepped into the side yard
of the Rectory, and training his opera glasses on the tree into
which the bird had flown, stood gazing up, waiting for a chance
for a good long identifying gaze. Mrs. Warlow looked out of the
window, saw this, called a friendly question, ‘What is it you’re
"‘A bird I don’t
know. But I can’t seem to see him.’
‘Oh, wait a minute,’
said Mrs. Warlow. ‘I’ll help you.’ With her head full of
associations of ideas with the extremely poor and ignorant slum
people with whom she and Mr. Warlow had been working in the
mission-parish where they had been before coming to Arlington,
she stepped up to the man with the opera glass (he, like most
Vermonters, was practically a professional expert with any kind
of mechanical equipment) took the glass from his hand and
explained kindly, ‘You probably haven’t got it focused. See,
this is how you do it - this little screw, you take hold of it,
so, between your thumb and finger, and run it carefully one way
and the other, till,’ brightly and encouragingly as to a dull
child dismayed with a problem beyond his powers, ‘all of a
sudden you’ll see Perfectly clearly through the glasses. Just
try. You can do it.’
jaw had dropped in total incredulous amazement as she talked.
When she finished, he closed his mouth, swallowed hard, drew a
long breath, and purple with suppressed amusement, said
pleasantly, ‘Oh, thank you very much, Mrs. Warlow. Yes, I see
now,’ vanishing as he spoke around the corner of the brick house
next door, where he leaned up against the woodshed laughing till
he was almost too weak to stand.
"This became one of
the stock jokes of town. ‘Wait a minute. I’ll help you. See this
little screw?’ was the hilarious preface to any offer to help,
especially to an extra competent person. Yet in that laughter
there was no resentment. Nobody dreamed of thinking that Mrs.
Warlow was being ‘condescending.’ Everyone understood the mental
processes which, given her recent experience with parishioners,
had led her to that absurd mistake, and so discreetly was the
joke enjoyed that, as far as anyone knows, Mrs. Warlow was never
aware of it."
The Rev. Kiliaen Van Rensselaer Gibson was Rector of St. James’
Parish during the World War.
He was called to the
rectorship of the parish by the Vestry at its meeting March
eighteenth, 1917, and assumed charge at the services on Easter
Day. His salary was $1,000.
Though his stay was
short in the parish he was an active and enthusiastic worker,
and he made great effort to maintain the morale of the parish in
the time of anxiety and uncertainty.
The church bell was
rung each day at noon, and the people joined in prayer at that
The Rev. Mr. Gibson
also made every effort to interest lapsed mem-bers by intensive
visiting, pastoral letters, special services and parish
He cooperated with
Miss "Mattie’ Canfield in her faithful work in the Sunday
In an effort to build
up the membership he formed a Boy Scout troop, and acted as
Scoutmaster until he secured Mr. Ralph Nichols to
serve in that
He conducted services
of meditation in Lent, and two confirmation classes were
prepared during his rectorship.
He also organized a
Brotherhood of St. Andrew group.
Quite a number of
young men were confirmed during his rectorship.
Mr. Gibson has five
children, now grown up, two of whom, Stuyvesant and Van
Rensselaer, Jr., were small children in the Rectory during his
ministry at Arlington.
In the fall of 1918,
Mr. Gibson resigned to take up work in the Diocese of Western
Mr. Gibson is a
direct descendant of Governor Petrus Stuyvesant and of Kiliaen
Van Rensselaer, Patroon of Albany; he is a cousin of Hamilton
Fish. He is an author, poet and lecturer. He was born in New
York City July, ninth, 1889.
In his early youth he
belonged to Trinity Parish, New York City and received his
elementary education at Trinity School, New York.
He was graduated from
Columbia College in 1911 and entered General Theological
Seminary the same year.
Later he was awarded
the Master of Arts degree for work in the field of education.
In 1916 he was
ordained to the Diaconate and a few months later to the
Priesthood in the Diocese of New York.
Mr. Gibson has served
either as Rector or Assistant in various churches in New York
City and elsewhere.
He assisted for a
time at the Church of the Holy Communion, and at this time he
was appointed Director of the Department of Religious Education
which he organized along the lines of modern educational
He was also connected
with All Souls’ Church, New York, and later he was Rector of St.
James’ Church, Arlington, and of Christ Church, Pittsford, New
In 1921-22 he was
Minister in Charge of St. John’s Church, Yonkers. Here he
instituted the noonday service, organized a large young men’s
Bible Class and introduced publicity methods.
For a number of years
past he has been Vicar of St. Mary’s, Yonkers.
During his ministry
he has served on various Church boards and Committees, has been
actively interested in the American Guild of Health and the
Society of the Nazarene.
He has conducted
radio "question hours" on Religion and Life problems and has
published works as follows:
"The Faith that
Overcomes the World" (1923); "The Master’s Secret of Power"
(1931); "Brave Lindbergh and Other Poems" (1937); two of his
Christmas Carols, "The Bethlehem Way" and "Our Bethlehem Star
Babe" have been considered for the Revised Hymnal. Mr. Gibson is
a scholar who has made comprehensive study in the psychology of
The Rev. Sherwood
Roosevelt was called to the rectorship of this parish on
November tenth, 1918 and continued as Rector until his death
September twenty-fourth, 1923.
ministry in Arlington was faithful and efficient. He was a good
pastor and a leader in worthy community enterprises. For a time
he was a member of the School Board and was one of those who
were active in support of the campaign to build the Arlington
Memorial School, which in November 1940 was burned to the
ground. During his ministry fifty-three persons were baptized
and twenty- five were confirmed.
On January 2, 1920,
Miss Martha H. Canfield, a "Mother in Israel," a lifelong member
and for forty years a teacher in the Sunday School, entered into
resolutions were passed by the Vestry on her death:
"Miss Mattie," as she
was known to all, gave to her Church a service so practical and
full that it touched and advanced its every interest. Whatever
she held as an obligation by a professor of Christianity was
discharged in its fullest sense, humbly, consistently and
In the community her
concern was truly Catholic. There were none but righteous
restrictions directing the application and administration of her
interpreted by charity and kindness towards all."
At a Vestry meeting
held on October tenth, 1920, called to order by the Rector, the
Rev. Sherwood Roosevelt, the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That the
Rector be requested on behalf of the Vestry and Parish to write
James A. Canfield and Mrs. John R. Fisher an expression of their
gratitude and appreciation of their more than generous act in
placing in the hands of the Vestry a certain portion of the
estate of Miss Martha Canfield to be held as a Trust Fund for
the maintenance of the services in the parish in Arlington,
Vermont. That Mr. Canfield and Mr. and Mrs. Fisher recognized a
wish of Miss Martha Canfield as of such force and obligation as
though she had made a bequest; that they carried out this wish
with an affection, and solicitude for the well being of this
Parish which has deeply impressed its members.’’
At a Parish Meeting
held on November eighth, 1920 the following resolution was
introduced and carried:
"Resolved that the
Rector, Wardens and Vestry of St. James’ Protestant Episcopal
Church of Arlington, Vermont, be and are hereby authorized to
sell and convey the parcels of land recently deeded to said
parish by James A. Canfield and Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Fisher by
deed dated September twenty-eighth, 1920, and it is further
resolved that the proceeds of such sales be placed in the hands
of the Trustees of the Diocese of Vermont.
"The interest of said
fund to be paid to the Treasurer of St. James’ Protestant
Episcopal Church, of Arlington, Vermont.
"Resolved: That this
fund be known as the Martha H. Canfield Fund to be thus held and
invested by the Trustees of the Diocese of Vermont for the
benefit of St. James’ Parish, Arlington, Vermont.
"The amount of the
fund is $3,000."
A brief sketch of the
life of Sherwood Roosevelt will now be given. Sherwood Roosevelt
was born in Southport, Connecticut, April nineteenth, 1855. He
was educated in the public schools in Brooklyn, New York, and in
a preparatory school at Claverick, New York.
He entered Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, in 1876. He graduated
from the College and Theological Seminary in 1880.
He was ordained to the Diaconate in Trinity Cathedral, Omaha,
Nebraska, in August, 1880, and to the Priesthood in
Indianapolis, Indiana, in the summer of 1881 by the Rt. Rev. J.
C. Talbot, DD, Bishop of Indiana.
From 1881 to 1896 Mr.
Roosevelt was in Indiana and Michigan, first doing missionary
work in Goshen, Indiana, and then in Owosso, Michigan. In 1896,
he returned to Brooklyn, New York, where he was Rector of the
Church of our Savior from 1896 to 1902.
He was Rector of St. Peter’s, Milford, Connecticut, from 1902 to
1908 when he became a member of the staff of the City Mission
Society of New York, remaining there until 1916 when he returned
to Connecticut and took charge of St. Peter’s Hebron.
In 1918 Mr. Roosevelt became Rector of St. James Church,
Arlington, his last parochial work.
In July twenty-first,
1879, Mr. Roosevelt married Mary Frances Clark of Brooklyn, New
York. Their children are Marcus Sherwood, John Talbot, and
Calvin Lay. Mrs. Roosevelt is now living with her son Calvin Lay
Roosevelt in Milford, Connecticut.
On October twenty-eighth, 1923, the Vestry met and voted to
extend a call to the Rev. John Mills Gilbert to the rectorship
of the parish at a salary of $1,800 a year and the use of the
Mr. Gilbert accepted
the call and took charge November first, 1923.
He came from Chester,
Pennsylvania, where he had been Rector of Holy Trinity Church
for ten years.
Mr. Gilbert writes
that he was very happy in Arlington and only left because it
seemed necessary for him to be within reach of his father as he
was over ninety, and no one of the family remained but himself
to care for him.
He says he recalls
with pleasure the very fine community spirit that prevailed in
contribution to the progress of the parish was the work he did
for the young people, a work that was not limited to the
children of the parish.
Each summer he
conducted a "Vacation School" called the "Mayflower Club" for
any children of the village who cared to attend, and between
twenty-five and thirty were enrolled.
There were classes in
various handicrafts, simple woodworking, designing, and
stenciling; and for girls, sewing, knitting, and some cooking
lessons, beside some games out-of-doors and story telling. There
were children from the different churches including some Roman
Mr. Gilbert says the
boys were much interested in the small wooden furniture, toy
cradles, chairs, tables, sleds, etc., and some paper knives with
Indian heads on the handle.
One of the boys about
ten or eleven years old came to Mr. Gilbert one day and said:
"Mr. Gilbert, why can’t we work like they do at the factory from
seven in the morning until five in the afternoon? Then we’d get
Francis Squiers, one
of the boys, made a wood carving of the Lord’s Prayer, which he
presented to the Church and it hangs now on the wall of the
Mrs. Carl Ruggles was
among the helpers, and she taught them some songs; while some of
the other ladies helped in the girl’s instruction.
Mr. Gilbert himself taught the boys.
The other feature of
special interest in Mr. Gilbert’s ministry was his ministry to
the ‘‘Silent Churches." Frequently he held services at Sandgate
in the Methodist Church, which was then inactive, and also at
the North Shaftsbury Methodist Church without a pastor,
conducting the service in the afternoon accompanied by some
members of the Young People’s Fellowship.
He also conducted
bi-weekly gatherings during the winter in the Community House.
These meetings were
of a religious nature, conducted after the manner of a panel
Mr. Gilbert and his
family were well esteemed in Arlington and they still are
remembered with affection by the people of St. James’ Parish.
When asked to give a
sketch of his life Mr. Gilbert modestly said he did not know
what to include that would be of any particular interest.
His life, he said, had been very much the sort of life that many
clergymen live, perhaps moving about a little more than some
others, yet with what he considered a valid reason for each
John Mills Gilbert
was born in Chatham, New Jersey, the son of George Walker
Gilbert and Amelia Mills Gilbert.
He was graduated from
St. Stephen’s College in 1890 and granted the degree of Master
of Arts in 1913.
In 1893 Mr. Gilbert
graduated from the General Theological Seminary. He was ordained
to the Diaconate in 1892, and to the Priesthood in 1894, by
Bishop Doane, of Albany.
twenty-seventh, 1 899, he married Mary Linn Starr of New York
City. Their children are - Isabel who married the Rev. Tom
Greenwood. They are living in England, and Constance who is now
Mrs. Lawrence Greenman, of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Mr. Gilbert began his
ministry as Rector of Calvary Church, Burnt Hills, New York, in
His other rectorships
were as follows: Curate, St. Peter’s Church, Morristown, New
Jersey, 1894-97; Grace Church, Waterford, New York, 1897-1900;
Vicar Chapel of Heavenly Rest, New York City, 1900-1903; Rector,
St. John’s Church, Phelps, 1903-06; Assistant, St. Paul’s
Church, Buffalo, 1906-09; Rector, St. Paul’s Church, Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, 1909-13; Rector, Church of the Holy Trinity, West
Chester, Pennsylvania, 1913-23; Rector of St. James Church,
Arlington, Vermont, 1923-1925; Rector, Christ Church, Sharon,
Mr. Gilbert is now retired. He was a Deputy to the General
Convention in 1913. He is an author and has published the
following poems: "Christmas Eve in the City" (Poems 1914, Gorham
Press - Poems in periodicals).
The Rev. W. J. Brown,
Rector of Zion Church, Manchester, also a venerable parish with
a notable history, has on his own initiative kindly contributed
the following sketch:
"Any account of the
Rectorship of the Reverend George Robert Brush in Saint James’
Parish, Arlington, should be prefaced by a paragraph or two
concerning the very splendid and enthusiastic work of Doctor
Watkins in the period between the departure of the former Rector
and the coming of the incumbent who forms the subject of this
"Doctor Watkins had
seen sufficient instances of the decay and disintegration that
frequently comes to a parish in the period between the coming
and going of rectors. One felt grateful for all his
forward-looking teaching and preaching. Realizing that the task
of the next rector would be a very full and exacting one, the
congregations were urged to do all that they could by way of
preparation for the arrival of their new Rector. Guilds and
parochial organizations were not allowed to do what the
organizations of so many parishes do in such an interim, suspend
business or go into a state of comfortable ease, rather they
were exhorted to be up and doing. All of this zeal and
enthusiasm on the part of Doctor Watkins and the people was
bound to have a most encouraging and stimulating effect on the
beginning of Mr. Brush’s work. Few parishes in the Church have
been so fortunate as was Arlington in having such a devoted and
disinterested clergyman for their friend and helper in days of
difficulty and uncertainty.
"Toward the end of
the winter of 1926, the Reverend George R. Brush, who had for
some time been the Church’s devoted missionary and pastor to the
Missions in the Lamoille Valley decided to relinquish his work
in northern Vermont and take up the work in Arlington. Coming to
Arlington and finding the Parish not only eager for a settled
pastor but also well organized and ready to go ahead must have
been a great source of comfort and encouragement. The Parish too
must have been encouraged with the arrival of the Rector and his
family. His good wife with her singular devotion and varying
gifts was indeed a welcome addition to the Parochial family and
the "Brush Boys" with their varying and various talents were
also of considerable value to the Parochial set up.
Mr. Brush’s rich and
varied experience in the work of the country parish not only
here among us in Vermont, but in other areas of the Church
previous to his coming to Vermont gave him an understanding of
the work in Arlington that was altogether vital and valued. The
missionary zeal and enthusiasm, which had characterized his work
in other portions of the Vermont vineyard, were soon evidenced
in the Arlington Cure. Scattered communicants in Shaftsbury,
Sandgate and Sunderland were looked up and encouraged to make
use of the Church and its privileges and attempts to maintain
services in these places so that the needs of our people might
be more fully met were accomplished with an encouraging measure
It is to be regretted
that these outposts, which were at one time strongholds of the
church have as the years, have come and gone become places where
the Church is hardly known. A good deal of time and a good deal
of money would be necessary to maintain an adequate work in such
places and these are not at the disposal of the rector in
Arlington, in fact nowhere in Vermont are our clergy able to do
for the outlying districts what might be done if time and funds
The visit of Bishop
Hall to the Parish in October 1929 was indeed memorable. On that
occasion the Centennial of the Laying of the Cornerstone of the
Parish Church was observed. The commemoration was preceded by a
banquet in the Arlington Hotel with addresses by the Bishop and
other visiting guests and the event was also marked by the
presence of many former parishioners who had returned for the
occasion. The service with the sermon by Bishop Hall on Sunday
was indeed worthy of the occasion. This occasion was in many
ways a most fitting prelude for the Sesquicentennial of the
founding of the Parish, which was observed in the summer of 1934
with Dr. Watkins as the preacher. The gracious presence of
Bishop Hall was missing from this notable gathering and was
commented on by many of those present. One did feel that
presence though as one realized in fuller measure the Communion
of Saints. All through that observance there was the continual
remembrance of that procession of noble souls who all down
through the years had labored to make St. James’ Parish what it
In 1932, a definite
and successful attempt was made to make the Parish more fully
realize its Diocesan relationships and contacts. The Historical
Pageant of that year, written by Mrs. Dorothy Canfield Fisher,
was a most worthy and moving presentation. As the characters
portraying the early Bishops of Vermont came upon the stage,
which the chancel of the Church provided and told of some of the
vicissitudes of travel and of their efforts to reach Arlington
for their visitation, one got a better idea of the work of other
days. Doctor Watkins who took the part of Bishop Hopkins and
told the people of the tipping over of the coach in which he was
traveling toward Arlington was able to bring before the
congregation a very vivid picture of Vermont roads of earlier
During the Rectorship
of Mr. Brush, things material as well as things spiritual were
continually supplying ample evidence of improvement. Soon after
his arrival in the Parish an effort was begun to provide more
adequate lighting facilities for the Church and the year 1927
witnessed the installation of suitable fixtures for the lighting
of the Church. Later on in this year the effort was made and
completed for the building of the wall surrounding the
Churchyard. This latter effort was of course the forerunner of
another effort to gather funds with which to clean up and
improve the condition of the graves within the churchyard.
Nineteen hundred thirty saw the beginning of a fund for this
purpose. This fund was to serve as a sort of permanent endowment
for the care and improvement of the Churchyard and it is
interesting to note that in the year 1940 this endowment had
reached the sum of $1,985.00. In this same Rectorship two other
bequests to the endowment funds of the Parish should be noted:
the bequest of Doctor Watkins of $2,000.00 for the maintenance
of the Parish and the bequest of Mr. George H. Wadleigh in 1938
of $6,000.00 to be used either for the improvement and
alteration of the chancel or else for the general endowment for
the maintenance of the Parish. These substantial gifts were
indeed a help.
The year 1935 was
singularly notable for gifts and improvements. It was in this
year that a vested choir took its place in the chancel and that
a processional cross in memory of Clarence Dyer Gilchrist, the
gift of his wife and friends, was given for use in connection
with the choir.
The year 1936
witnessed the redecoration of the Church in a manner altogether
fitting. The organ had been greatly helped and strengthened a
year or so previous by the addition of an electric motor and
No more beautiful or
more valuable improvement has ever been made to the Parish than
the enrichment of the Sanctuary by the installation in 1938 of
the memorial Reredos, over the Altar, given by Mrs. Edward
Cushing and family in memory of her parents, the Reverend Doctor
Schureman Halsted Watkins and Helen Randolph Watkins. This
beautiful work carved in Oberammergau by one of the talented
workmen of that quaint old city is indeed a most fitting
memorial to two people who in their lifetime loved and labored
greatly for the Parish. The Incarnation and the Resurrection,
which are so wonderfully depicted in the Reredos, were subjects
on which Doctor Watkins had preached a great number of sermons
and ably testify to the importance of the Church’s teaching
concerning these things and how highly he valued that teaching.
He never seemed to tire of calling people’s attention to the
necessity for a right belief concerning these great truths. One
looks upon this lovely work and thinks of him in whose memory it
is set up and then there comes the thought, "He being dead yet
The last Sunday in
June 1930 was made notable by the visitation of Bishop Booth for
the blessing and setting apart of the large and commodious
rectory just south of the Church, which had been presented, to
the Parish under a bequest from Mr. John Lathrop Burdett. The
Burdett family had for several generations been deeply
interested in the life and work of St. James’ Parish and this
gift, to be known as the Burdett Memorial Rectory, was indeed a
fitting memorial to the individual donor as well as the former
members of his family. Spacious and generous in its proportions
it offered ample room to the family of the Rector who also found
in the house opportunity for devoting one of the rooms to the
purposes of a Chapel, for weekday services and for services on
any occasion when the Church was not available. The former
Rectory was soon afterward put on the market and in due time a
desirable purchaser appeared. This addition of real property is
notable and helps us all to realize the value and importance of
a suitable rectory in the country Cure.
Every Rectory has its
days of sunshine and shadow and a real heavy shadow fell upon
the Arlington Rectory when in 1936 the final illness of Anna
Brush, the wife of the Rector, became apparent to all. Six long
months of painful suffering and distress were her lot ere she
entered into the "Rest that Remaineth," but those months were
characterized by great faith, patience and fortitude and her
departure left her family with some very precious memories of an
earnest and well-lived Christian life. Her courage and
steadfastness all through the days of her pilgrimage even unto
the end remain as a perpetual challenge to the members of her
family as well as to the members of the Parish generally, and
they speak volumes concerning her quiet and devout life with all
its care and interest in the rearing of her family and the work
she felt called upon to do in her Parish.
A Rectorship of
thirteen years seems like a very long one for these modern days
but for Mr. Brush the days were so filled with work that the
time must have seemed full short. Though the days were full with
the affairs of Arlington and the efforts of its Rector to preach
and teach the truths for which the Church stood; yet he was ever
ready to give aid and assistance in other parishes whenever the
opportunity and his strength permitted.
The Parish Message, a
little paper that the Rector published as well as edited and
printed, had a wide circulation and for thirteen years not less
than one hundred copies were printed and circulated each week.
This might be considered a most valuable work, in fact one of
the most valuable works of any rectorship. By means of this
little publication the people were kept in touch with their
Parish, absentees from service always had an opportunity to
share in the church’s teaching and thinking for the days and
seasons. The work of the pulpit was indeed greatly extended by
means of this effort.
One cannot pass over
the rich and fruitful rectorship of Mr. Brush without recalling
the efforts from time to time to strengthen the ties of
parochial friendship with the neighboring parishes. Notable
among these was the joint effort on the part of Zion Church,
Manchester, and the parish in Arlington to entertain the
Diocesan gathering of the Woman’s Auxiliary in 1928 in
That year marked the
fiftieth anniversary of the organization of the Auxiliary in
Vermont, and the gathering in Arlington was inspiring and
enthusiastic. The expense of hospitality and the provision for
lodging of the delegates to this meeting during their stay in
the parish was borne jointly by the two parishes, and was a very
happy demonstration of how some of the smaller parishes might
gain for themselves the inspiration and encouragement that
always come from a Diocesan gathering of this nature.
A ministry of great
fruitfulness and zeal came to its close in the year 1939, when
the Rector retired from active parochial work, and with his
family moved from the Rectory.
Life for him had been
enriched by his years in Arlington; the Parish had been enriched
and blessed by his ministrations, and the people, with many of
whom he shared deep personal sorrows as well as joys, were also
Note. – Sunderland
has since the rectorship of the Rev. Frederick A. Wadleigh (1844
- 1864), received frequent ministrations from the Rectors of St.
James' Parish. Mr. Wadleigh during his long ministry at
Arlington speaks in his annual reports to the Convention of
holding services there with good congregations, and also of
teaching a Sunday School. These services were probably held in a
church building at Sunderland borough, which was taken down many
During the rectorship
of the Rev. Richard C. Searing (1888 - 1893) a Union Church was
built by the people of Sunderland, and Mr. Searing was active in
this effort, though at no time was there an Episcopal
The Rev. G. R. Brush
in 1929 began a Sunday School which was held on Friday
afternoons after school at the Sunderland school house. This
school was maintained for two years with an attendance of about
twelve scholars, but after the first year it was conducted at
the home of Miss Nettie Houghton since deceased.
From 1931 to 1937
Episcopal services were conducted both summer and winter at the
Union Church every Sunday, the Rev. W. J. Brown of Zion Church,
Manchester, and Mr. Brush taking the services on alternate
During 1937 the Rev.
J. Elmer McKee, whose summer home is in Sunderland, had charge
of the services. Mr. McKee is now Rector at Peterborough, New
Now that a review has
been made of the life and work of the Rectors during Bishop
Hall's episcopate it remains to record some impressions as to
the Bishop's relations to diocesan life and of his personal
association with his clergy.
Bishop Hall was
impatient of inaccuracies and inconsistencies and often bluntly
rebuked those who were dilatory in making their reports or who
fell short in some duty.
From time to time in
annual conventions Bishop Hall made definite pronouncements in
formal discourses, which he termed "Charges," clearly defining
the teaching of the Church in doctrine, discipline and worship.
These Charges, the fruit of the Bishop’s ripe scholarship, were
looked upon by his clergy as classics in theology, and gave him
the position of a spiritual leader, not only in his own diocese
but in General Convention where he was recognized as an
authority on the doctrine and polity of the Church.
His Conferences with
the clergy at Rock Point for group study and discussion were
rare privileges to the clergy and gave opportunity for a better
understanding of the bishop’s habits of thought and life, and in
particular his prayer-life was most edifying and convincing.
In his exegesis of the Bible the Bishop was very practical and
helpful, and in questions about the Prayer Book and its rubrics,
and the canons of the Church he was always direct and clear, and
whether personally in agreement with all of his conclusions or
not the clergy always gave him their respect and confidence.
Bishop Hall, though
often called to speak and conduct missions without the diocese,
yet often traveled in Vermont on country roads regardless of
weather conditions, to hold services and preach simply to small
groups of a dozen persons or less.
In 1911 Bishop Hall,
feeling that his health was being undermined, and that he could
no longer give the diocese the care, which he felt it should
have, especially in the rigors of winter, had offered to resign.
The convention was
much averse to this and, with the reluctant consent of the
Bishop, voted to elect a Bishop Coadjutor.
At the convention of 1912 the Rev. William Farrar Weeks, then
Rector of Trinity Church, Shelburne was elected the first Bishop
Coadjutor of Vermont.
Mr. Weeks was a
priest who had served in the diocese for many years and was well
known and beloved, being at this time Secretary of the diocese.
In some respects he
was like the present Bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. Vetter
Van Dyck, DD, a good administrator, most genial and approachable
and especially beloved in the country parishes.
He was a loyal
supporter of Bishop Hall, a good pastor, and fond of fishing and
His leadership was
strong, but he was humble in spirit.
To the great sorrow
of the diocese, Bishop Weeks was stricken at the very outset of
his labors as Coadjutor with cancer and lived only a few months
after his consecration.
His successor, the
Rev. George Yemens Bliss, was another of the outstanding clergy
of the diocese at that time, and when elected Bishop was the
Rector of St. Paul’s, Burlington, his first and only rectorship.
He began his ministry as Assistant to the Rev. J. Isham Bliss,
his uncle, who was Rector of St. Paul’s, Burlington, for many
years. After his death the Rev. George Y. Bliss became Rector.
Bishop Bliss was consecrated as Coadjutor of the Diocese of
Vermont in 1915, and became a devoted and efficient leader in
the missionary work of the diocese of which Bishop Hall gave him
Bishop Bliss was an
indefatigable worker. He would start out with one of his
missionary priests on his itinerary, traveling with him from
early morning until late in the evening, and after preaching and
confirming in three and sometimes four mission stations he
seemed still fresh and vigorous.
The Bishop did not
drive an automobile, but was always ready to make trips with the
missionary in his Model T Ford, however uncertain it was in its
Bishop Bliss was a
graduate of the University of Vermont, and at the time of his
election as Bishop Coadjutor the University conferred upon him
the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Because of his
scholarly equipment, his catholic Churchmanship, and his
familiarity with Vermont traditions, he was very valuable in his
office as Bishop Coadjutor.
service for many years as parish priest in a large city parish
was fruitful in giving him wisdom and judgment in his wider
field of leadership.
But again the diocese
suffered the loss of its Coadjutor. Bishop Bliss, after nine
years of strenuous work in the diocese, was stricken and died in
These were trying
years for the diocese, but most trying for Bishop Hall who in
his declining years had come to rely on the calm and judicious
counsel of his Coadjutor.
But the diocese must
press on, and it soon became the general feeling that the
diocese must look outside its borders for help.
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