SUPPLEMENT TO BRUSH HISTORY OF St.
On the occasion of the celebration of St. James bicentennial
BY - LESTER BRUSH (Son of The Rev. George R. Brush)
In the main, this work is an effort to summarize and supplement
or update the History of St. James Parish, Arlington, Vermont,
and the Diocese of Vermont, written y my father, - George R.
Brush, Rector of St. James 1926 - 1939. That book was my main
source material, with many quotes from it. A St. James Sunday
School record book (1873 to 1884) was used to list children of
that period who were parishioners in my youth. Most of the
supplement was from memory with some dates confirmed by
referring to St. James Guild Minutes and Treasurer’s Record
Books. Also, the session of part of the bicentennial Committee:
Fred and Dot Grout, Art and Lorraine Moody and Larry Brush, when
we taped memories of the past helped greatly in stimulating my
I wish to extend my thanks to our former Rector, Father
Douglas Culton, for encouraging me to get started. And especial
thanks to Josie Rahe and Chris Meyer for their much-appreciated
help in typing and editing my poor writing. Also, Josie Rahe
assisted me in writing the section covering Father John Adams’
and Father Douglas Culton’s Rectorships. Many thanks to her for
that valuable assistance.
B. Our Beginnings
As we celebrate the bicentennial of the organization of the
Episcopal Church in Arlington, it is only fitting that we
include an account of our “goodly heritage”. For a century after
Massachusetts and Connecticut were settled, Vermont was
undeveloped and completely forested. Even the Indians had no
settlements in Vermont except in the North in the area of
Swanton, using Vermont chiefly for hunting game.
In 1749 the King of England instructed Benning Wentworth, then
Governor of New Hampshire, to open up the area and make grants
at $100.00 per township. One of the motivating reasons that
caused people to pull up stakes and come to the ‘New Hampshire
grants’ to clear the land and settle was that, following the
French and Indian Wars in the 1750’s, the soldiers had come back
to their homes in lower New England through the area known as
Vermont. Those soldiers had spread the word about the virtues of
Vermont - the good land, abundant natural resources and rich
soil. In the pre-Revolutionary times, the progress of the
Episcopal Church had been made difficult by the attitudes of
prejudice and opposition of the Puritans and Separatists to the
ceremonies and liturgies of the Book of Common Prayer. In
addition, the Puritans and the churchmen were far apart in their
modes of behavior. The Puritans banned any form of amusement and
the churchmen felt that man functions more normally when he is
free to indulge in amusement and recreation within Christ’s
laws. Even so, at this time in the Newtown and New Milford,
Connecticut, area, there were families of churchmen living
amongst the prejudice of their Puritan neighbors.
By 1761, many families had settled in the Arlington area,
bringing their religion with them. In Walter and Margaret Hard’s
hook - This is Vermont - they commented: “I’ve always been proud
of those early settlers of Arlington. You know they tired of the
rigid Calvinist religion of their neighbors in Connecticut who
criticized them for their frivolity and so they came up here and
brought their Church of England with them... I’ve heard what
they wanted especially was to be free to celebrate Christmas and
Easter and May Day, and they wanted to dance too. I’m proud as
punch of these people.”
The Town of Arlington was chartered by Governor Benning
Wentworth, Gov. of New Hampshire, with his commission from the
King on July 26, 1761. Living in Arlington at that time was
Jehiel Hawley. He had been a Captain of Militia of the Town of
New Milford, Connecticut, and had been chosen annually to be Lay
Reader of the Episcopal Church in Roxbury, Connecticut. The
Churchman Magazine, published in Connecticut in 1805 tells:
“Although encumbered by many things, Capt. Jehiel Hawley did not
forget ‘the one thing needful’ but with unrelenting zeal for his
Master’s glory and the salvation of his fellow men. He commenced
the worship of the church at Arlington upon settling there and
with the blessing of God upon his unrelenting and pious labors,
he so spread the doctrine of the church that until the time of
the Revolutionary War almost the whole town consisted of
Jehiel Hawley built the first frame house in Arlington
situated just south of the present Railroad Station. He was Lay
Reader for regular services in his house from 1764 - 1777,
except for the years 1772 - 1773 when he traveled to England,
during which period his son Andrew read the service. Shortly
after his having settled in Arlington, a dispute arose between
New York and the ‘New Hampshire grants’ over boundaries. Capt.
Hawley and James Breckenridge, as Vermont delegates, traveled to
England to submit evidence to the King and it was chiefly
through Capt. Hawley’s efforts that the ‘New Hampshire grants’
claims were substantiated.
Through the history of Arlington furnished by the Rev.
Frederick A. Wadleigh, we learn that the Rev. Gideon Bostwick of
Great Barrington, Massachusetts and the Rev. Daniel Burban of
Lanesboro, Massachusetts often came to visit Arlington to
administer the sacraments. The Rev. Bostwick was a missionary
for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts and during
the years 1772 - 1789, he made eight distinct visits to this
part of Vermont. Rev. Wadleigh goes on to relate that: “In 1764
the settlement was reinforced by a number of families from
Newtown, Connecticut, some of whom were Capt. Jehiel Hawley and
his brothers Abel, Josiah and Gideon, Phineas Hurd, Isaac Bisco,
Samuel Adams, Ebenezer Leonard, Zaccheus Mallory, Thomas Peck,
James Frume and Remember Baker of Roxbury, Connecticut. From
1765 to 1780 the following families, mostly from Newtown and New
Milford, Connecticut, joined the settlement: Austin Seele, David
Watkins, George Oatman, Caleb Dayton, Eliakin Stoddard, Zadock
Hard, James Hard, David Crofut, Capt. John Grey, Lemuel Buck,
David Buck, Daniel Burritt, George Mitchell, Pitman Benedict,
Nathan Canfield, Israel Canfield and others. These were mostly
all Episcopalians.” What is particularly interesting is to note
how many of the descendants of these families are still living
in Arlington today - the Benedicts, Bucks, Crofuts, Canfields,
Hards and Hawleys.
Upon Jehiel Hawley’s return from England, he continued to
read the service of the church in Arlington. Later, however,
because of his loyalty to his sovereign, he was jailed at
Litchfield. After the capture of General Burgoyne, Capt. Hawley
went to Canada, one of the articles of capitulation being that
those who had not taken up arms might go there, but he died on
Following the departure and death of Jehiel Hawley, services
of the church were held quite irregularly, but in 1784, the
Arlingtonians were strongly of the opinion that a church and
minister were necessary for the welfare of the community.
Therefore, the Episcopal Society was formed under the name of
‘Bethel Church’. It was voted to build the church south of the
churchyard. We note from the Minutes of the meeting of November
6, 1784, relating to the building of the church:
Voted to build a church 45 feet long, 35 feet wide, 18 posts.
Voted Nathan Canfield to have charge of the building.
Voted to raise two shillings on the pound for the use of
building a church.
Voted that a man with a good team have 6 shillings per day, man
with an axe 3 shillings.
Voted that shingles be 12 shillings per 1,000.
Voted that good pine boards be $6.00 per 1,000 delivered at the
Voted that sideboards be $5.00 per 1,000 delivered at the frame.
Voted that carpenters have 4 shillings 6 pence per day and a
joiner - 4 shillings per day.
The church was a large two-story building of wood without a
tower standing on the main site as the present stone church. The
front entrance was on the south side instead of the East Side as
at present. It had galleries on three sides. On the ground floor
there was a broad aisle and two side aisles. To the right of the
broad aisle before the chancel stood the font; to the left the
reading desk, back and over which was a large box pulpit, which
was reached by a flight of ten or more steps. The floor was
occupied with square pews, which would hold about twelve persons
each. Because of troubled times, the church was not completely
finished until 1803; however services were able to be held in it
from the late 1780’s on.
During the Revolutionary period, the clergy were loyalists as
they refused to omit prayers for the King and parliament. In
addition, there were no Bishops in the country, which was
probably good since there was a very negative feeling towards
allowing Bishops here since the people looked upon a Bishop as
living in a royal estate, which would incorporate the influx of
the whole hierarchy of the crown. Consequently, any clergy in
this country had to return to England or Scotland to be ordained
and the supply of clergy was not prolific. The Arlington church
had to get along with a lay reader until after the War. However,
in 1784 they organized their Society and were able to obtain the
Rev. James Nichols to be Rector in 1786. Unfortunately, there
was dissatisfaction with the manner of life of the Rev. Nichols
and the Vestry voted not to pay him any salary after a date in
1788 and asked him to withdraw as Rector. Between that date and
September 6, 1790, there are no records of Vestry minutes until
they met and elected delegates to attend the Convention of the
Episcopal Church which was to be held at Arlington on September
21, 1790. Those delegates were Zadock Hard, Caleb Dayton and
The Diocesan Convention held in Arlington on June 18, 1890
was the commemoration of the Centennial of the First Convention
of the Episcopal Church in Vermont, held at Arlington on
September 20, 1790 - it was called “our Jubilee”. The Rt. Rev.
William H. Bissell, DD, Bishop of Vermont, presided over the
Centennial Convention. Rev. A.H. Bailey, who gave the historical
address, mentions the first Convention thus:
“On the morning of September 20, 1790, the leading Churchmen
met at the dwelling of Nathan Canfield, Esq. (which stood on the
west side of the highway about a half mile north of the Village)
and talked over the steps necessary to be taken to organize the
convention and agreed upon them. They then adjourned to the
Church for divine services.”
At the 1790 Convention, there were two clergymen present (one
from Sandgate and one from Manchester) and eighteen laymen. The
main business of the convention was the appointment of Giddings
from Manchester and Todd from Arlington to a Committee to
endeavor to procure an act of legislation for the purpose of
securing to the Church the possession of its Glebe lands. Glebe
lands was a long and tedious topic of litigation for many years,
finally resulting in the Church securing one half the land and
losing the rest by a technicality.
In September of 1792, the Vestry entered into an agreement
with the Rev. Russell Catlin for taking charge of the Parish.
That original agreement is still in the possession of St. James.
Unfortunately, Rev. Catlin was in Arlington for only two years,
having been dismissed for intemperance.
So, the parish of the “Bethel Society” struggled along
without a Rector until 1803 when the Rev. Abraham Brownson came
to share his ministrations equally between Arlington and
Manchester, making his residence in Manchester. This situation
was renewed for the next twenty-three years. It was in 1803 that
he started his ministry for the people of West Arlington,
building a church four miles “down river”. Under Rev. Brownson’s
leadership, both churches were completed - the West Arlington
Church was called Bethesda and the Arlington Church was called
Bethel, but they were one society under one vestry. The Vestry
minutes do show that the two churches had a conflict of opinion
as to whether the pews should be free or rented and it was
finally decided that the Bethel (Arlington) Church pews would be
free while the Bethesda (West Arlington) Church would sell pews
to individual proprietors. It was also voted to remain as one
society, hut half the officers would be elected from West
“Priest Brownson”, as he was popularly called, wrote
Historical Letters about his and the Church’s activities in
Vermont. Among those Letters is the record of the formation of
the Eastern Diocese and the election of its first Bishop. During
the 1805 Convention, a resolution had passed to request Bishop
Moore of the New York Diocese to take the Vermont church under
his care. He agreed to that request, provided he was not
expected to visit the State, so the request fell through. Then,
in 1809, the Massachusetts Diocese Convention directed the
invitation of Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont brethren
to join in the election of a Bishop. So, in May of 1810, Mr.
Chipman of Middlebury, Mr. John Whitlock of Castleton, Dr.
Cutter of Rockingham and “Priest Brownson” met at Convention in
Boston with other delegates to form the constitution of the
Eastern Diocese. After the constitution was adopted, the
convention proceeded to elect a Bishop. The name of Rev.
Alexander Viets Griswold of Rhode Island was proposed and agreed
upon. Although at first declining the election, Mr. Griswold was
finally persuaded to accept. His consecration occurred in New
York in June 1811. The year 1811 marked the first Episcopal
administrations in Vermont. Although “Priest Brownson” was
active in many church affairs throughout Vermont, he did not
neglect the spiritual welfare of his flock in Arlington and by
1823, Arlington could count among its ranks eighty communicants.
In 1826, however, Mr. Brownson resigned from the Arlington
Parish and moved to Manchester where he remained until 1833 when
he traveled on to Ohio as a missionary. His title “Priest
Brownson” was given to him throughout the State in recognition
of the deep respect accorded him for his devoted administrations
to churches throughout the State. Also, he received many honors
- being President of the Convention from 1815 to 1832; a member
of the Standing Committee from 1803 to 1833; a delegate to the
Convention of the Eastern Diocese from its formation in 1811
In 1826, the Rev. J. Howland Coit officiated at Arlington and
was ordained by Bishop Griswold in October 1827. At the
Convention that year, Mr. Coit reported 93 communicants, 2
funerals, 4 adult baptisms, 3 marriages and 130 Sunday scholars.
Rev. Coit was succeeded by Rev. J.M. Tappan in November of 1828.
In the following year, on October 28, 1829, the cornerstone
of St. James Church was laid by Bishop Griswold. The large
congregation which witnessed the cornerstone laying on the north
wall also listened to the Bishop deliver the address, assisted
by Rev. Abraham Brownson and Rev. James M. Tappan. The church
had been built in Gothic style of dark blue limestone, which had
been locally quarried. It was 67 feet long and 48 feet wide with
a cellar under the whole building to provide a Sunday school
room, a robing room and furnace space. At the time of the
cornerstone laying, the foundation was complete, the walls were
to a height of 5 feet and the window frames, sills and
doorframes were complete. The total cost was estimated at
$6,000, which was to borne totally by the members of the
society. A third of the cost, plus the furnishing of an organ
and a bell had been provided by Sylvester Deming. In the cavity
of the cornerstone was placed a leaden box containing a prayer
book and a parchment with the following inscription:
This cornerstone of St. James Church was laid by the Rt. Rev.
Alexander Viets Griswold, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal
Church in the Eastern Diocese, October 26, 1829, being the 53rd
year of the Independence of the United States of America.
Among those noted as being present were: Rev. James M.
Tappan, minister of the Parish, Noble Hard, Simeon Cole Wardens,
Enos Canfield, Samuel Baker, Anson Canfield, Zadock Hard and
Martin Deming (Vestrymen), Lewis Dyer (Clerk), Martin C. Deming,
S. Canfield, Cyrus B. Hills, Simeon Cole, Phineas Smith
(Building Committee), William Passwan of Aulston, Yorkshire,
England (Architect). At the Vermont Convention held in Arlington
on August 31, 1831, St. James Church was consecrated by the Rt.
Rev. Bishop Griswold. The current minister of the Church, Rev.
William S. Perkins was present along with seven clergymen of
other churches in the State. This turned out to be a special
convention in that this portion of the Eastern Diocese was asked
to allow the erection of a separate Diocese for Massachusetts
and the retaining of the services of Bishop Griswold. Agreement
was given and plans were started for the erection of the Diocese
of Vermont as a separate independent Diocese. At the Convention
the following year (May 31, 1832) formal action was taken for
the separate Diocese and the Rev. John Henry Hopkins, the
assistant minister of Trinity Church of Boston, was elected
The Rt. Rev. John Henry Hopkins became the first Bishop of
Vermont and proved to be a man of force, vigor and scholar. He
established a boys’ and girls’ school at Rock Point in
Burlington where he built his home. In addition, he was elected
to be Presiding Bishop in the late 60’s until his death in 1868.
Due to his toleration of the seceded States, yet remaining loyal
to the Government, he was able to bring together the several
Dioceses of the Churches with the least possible bitterness.
Recognizing Bishop Hopkins’ capabilities, he was sent (all
expenses paid) to the First Pan Anglican Council in England in
The years from 1829 to 1833 saw the Rev. William S. Perkins
as Rector of St. James. Starting out as a Deacon, he was
ordained by Bishop Griswold at St. James in October of 1831.
Rev. Perkins was followed in 1839 by the Rev. Anson B. Hard,
who was born and brought up in Arlington, a son of Noble Hard.
The years from 1833 to 1840 had been lean for the Church and the
Rectorship of Rev. Mr. Hard had brought a return of prosperity.
However, in 1844 he resigned and moved on to Chester, Vermont.
The Rev. Frederick A. Wadleigh was called and became Rector
of St. James in 1844, remaining in that position for 20 years.
By 1845, the Diocesan journal reported that the parish owned, in
addition to the Church edifice, a parsonage valued at $800 and 3
glebe lands bringing in rents of $80. This is the first actual
reference to a parsonage, which was probably located where
Merwin Crofut presently lives.
By 1848, it was recorded that horse sheds had been built
around the west and south sides of the Church property for $150.
Those sheds remained for 75 years, finally being taken down in
In 1852, Mr. Wadleigh reported holding services once in two
weeks in West Arlington, once in two weeks in East Arlington and
once a month in Sunderland. He also noted that a missionary of
the Congregational Church would be coming to East Arlington.
Part of Mr. Wadleigh’s permanent contribution to the community
was a valuable history of Arlington and of the Church. Much of
this early history, which he wrote, was to be found in
Hemenway’s Historical Gazetteer, Vol. I.
Rev. Wadleigh was followed by Rev. Charles S. Hale. Rev. Hale
had been born in Brandon, Vermont, and studied for the ministry
with and was ordained by Rt. Rev. John Henry Hopkins, DD. He was
Rector of St. James, Arlington, from 1865 - 68 (and had been
Chaplain of the Fifth Vermont Volunteers from 1862 - 64). During
these years we come to the close of the Episcopate of Bishop
Hopkins, who had been tireless in his energies for the
development of the Diocese.
A special convention was held in Burlington on March 18, 1868
at which a native Vermonter, Rev. William Henry Augustus Bissell
was elected the second Bishop of Vermont. He was consecrated in
Montpelier on June 3, 1868.
The departure of Rev. Mr. Hale from Arlington in 1868 brought
Rev. Francis W. Smith to be Rector. The records of the Vestry
show that calls had been extended to four clergymen, all of
which had been turned down. Towards the end of 1868, Rev. Mr.
Smith was called at a salary of $1,200, which he accepted. At
this tine, the Vestry was comprised of Harmon Canfield, A. Dow
Canfield, Henry S. Hard, Fernando West, Samuel Benedict and
Abner Davis and the communicants numbered 124. However, Rev.
Smith’s stay was short and in 1871 the Rectory of St. James was
In March of 1872 Rev. Gemont Graves became Rector. By 1873 a
parish school was opened under the Rector’s charge with a Miss
Wooster as Principal. There is still evidence of that School in
the form of Sunday school library books and the original
notebook listing the titles of the Parish and Sunday School
libraries, dated from 1873. The listing was arranged for
different age groups as follows:
Classes 1 & 2 Vol. 1 to 32
Classes 3 & 4 Vol. 32 to 73
Classes 5, 6, 7 & 8 Vol. 72 to 143
Parish library Vol. 143 to 178 (later 202)
The names of children in each class are also listed. Many of
these children were later to be the adults of the parish during
the Rectorship of this author’s father (1926 to 1939); namely:
Class I Frank Robinson, Sadie Hard, Ethel Viault
Class II David Robinson, Anna McAuley
Class III Clarence Hard, Winnie Phillips
Class IV Florence Hard, Hallie Phillips, Maud Adams, Florence
Class V Seymore Hard
Class VII Charles Crofut, Fred Farmhum
These “children” were to continue to play am active role in
the church - in the 1920’s David Robinson was the stone mason
who built the stone wall around the cemetery; Clarence Hard was
later organist; Florence Hard, Hallie Phillips and Maud Adams
married other active parishioners - William Beves, Clarence
Gilchrist and Henry LaBatt, respectively; Florence Holden was a
teacher in Bennington - upon her death in the 1960’s, she left
an endowment to the St. James Sunday School. In the original
notebook, the Sunday School teachers were listed as:
Class I Mrs. F. M. Canfield
Class II Mrs. D. W. Elmore
Class III Mrs. Fanny Barney
Class IV Mrs. C. L. Stewart
Class V Mrs. J. K. Judson
Class VI Mrs. J. K. Batchelder
Class VII Miss Mattie Canfield
Mrs. Stewart continued as a Sunday School teacher for 17
years (as well as organist for many years), Miss Mattie Canfield
continued for 40 years. In later years, Rev. Graves’ oldest
daughter, Marie, was to marry Rev. John Henry Hopkins, DD,
grandson of the Bishop. When Marie Graves Hopkins attended the
Centennial of the Women’s Auxiliary held in Arlington in 1928,
she was to recall her experiences in the private parish School
and speak about some of her schoolmates - Frank N. Canfield,
Edward C. Woodworth, Charles H. Crofut, Alice Canfield Hoyt and
In 1875, Rev. Mr. Graves tendered his resignation, in which
he mentioned the financial embarrassment of the parish.
In April of 1877 the Rev. John Randall became Rector of St.
James. During his rectorship, the heating system was changed
from the old to the new with the installation of a steam heating
plant, which plant remained until after World War II. Prior to
this change, some parishioners would carry with them their
individual foot stoves. After a long illness, Rev. Mr. Randall
died and was buried in the St. James Cemetery. Bishop Bissell,
six clergymen, and a church full of mourning parishioners paid
their last respects at the funeral service on St. Phillip and
St. James’ Day, 1883.
During Rev. Randall’s illness and for other periods when the
rectory was vacant, Dr. Eli H. Canfield assisted as supply
priest. Dr. Canfield had been born in Arlington in 1817 and was
educated in the district school of the Village with added
instruction from Rev. William S. Perkins who maintained a
private School in his home in the Village. Dr. Canfield attended
Burr & Burton Seminary and the academy of East Bennington;
attended Virginia Theological Seminary from 1841 - 1844 and was
Rector of various churches in New York until 1870 when he
retired to Arlington to the brick house opposite St. James.
January of 1884 brought a new Rector to St. James - the Rev.
Francis Gilliat. He is remembered as a faithful priest and the
organizer of frequent social activities at the Rectory. His
rectorship ended in the spring of 1886.
In December of 1887 the Rev. George S. Pratt was ordained
Deacon and became minister in charge at St. James. However, his
stay was for less than a year and was to be followed in 1888 by
the Rev. Richard C. Searing.
During Rev. Searing’s rectorship, the Diocesan Convention met
in Arlington in 1890 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the
First Diocesan convention at Arlington in 1790. During Rev. Mr.
Searing’s rectorship, the Episcopate of Bishop Bissell came to a
close, his death occurring on May 14, 1893. Quoting from the
Brush History of St. James, it is noted:
When Bishop Bissell came to Vermont, he entered upon no easy
task as successor of a Bishop (Rt. Rev. John Henry Hopkins) who
was a lawyer, a musician, a painter, an architect as well as a
scholar and theologian. The two characters presented a strange
contrast. The one was raised up for a special crisis and was
bold in resources; the other took the work as it was left, was
quiet and undemonstrative and did his work faithfully and with
Therefore, a special convention was held in June of 1893 for
the election of a Bishop. The elected party - Rev. Samuel Hart,
DD, of the Diocese of Connecticut and Dean of Berkeley Divinity
School, declined the position; so a second convention was held
in August at which time Rev. Arthur C.A. Hall (of the Diocese of
Massachusetts) was elected. His consecration took place in
Burlington on February 2, 1894.
At his first Diocesan convention, Bishop Hall read the Canons
of the general Church regarding the ministrations of lay
readers. Bishop Hall felt that without the help of lay readers,
many churches would have suffered badly. He also stressed the
importance of celebrating the Holy Eucharist at least once every
Sunday, a practice which was at variance with many churches in
Vermont in those days.
During the Episcopate of Bishop Hall, the following clergymen
served as Rectors of St. James Parish:
The Rev. James C. Carmahan 1894 - 1897
The Rev. Henry B. Ensworth 1897 - 1899
The Rev. S. Halsted Watkins 1900 - 1904
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 the September 10, 1893 Vestry meeting, a call was extended
to the Rev. James C. Carnahan at a salary of $700 and use of the
rectory, which he accepted. Mr. Carnahan had worked in business
for ten years before studying for the ministry. He graduated
from Hobart College in 1891 with honors where he remained for a
few years as an instructor of Greek. (One of his students was
later to also be a Rector at St. James, namely, Rev. George R.
By the summer of 1894, Rev. Carnahan had secured a young
teacher and the two conducted a school in the lower part of the
Town Hall for those pupils who had finished the grades of the
public school. That school was short-lived, but some of the
students continued their studies at the Rectory.
In 1897, Rev. Carnahan was called to the Church of Our Savior
in Sherburne, Vermont, where he served faithfully until his
death in 1918. (This church in Sherburne had been newly erected
and had received a $35,000 endowment from Mrs. Charles Clement,
together with a rectory and farm, in memory of their family.)
On June 15, 1897, the Rev. Henry B. Ensworth accepted the
call. At this time the Vestry voted to build a recess chancel. A
subscription fund of $1,677.80 was raised by Mrs. Jessie Burdett
and the contract was awarded to Mr. Lyman at $1,750.00. However,
the total cost of $1,912.70 left a parish debt of $234.90. In
May of 1899, the Rev. Charles S. Hale, now of Claremont, New
Hampshire, but a former St. James rector, through a memorial
furnished by Horace Thompson offered to complete the
improvements in the chancel provided he supervised the work.
The important improvements included the removal of the
galleries, the high pews and the high pulpit, the installation
of the organ in the chancel and the refurnishing and reseating
of the church and chancel. The making and carving of the
woodwork in the chancel and sanctuary and the placing of the
large window above the altar, which was done by the local firm
of A.D. Canfield. Charles Canfield, a member of the firm, and
his brother Frank, both expert cabinetmakers and wood carvers,
did the beautiful and churchly workmanship of the furnishings.
For many years Frank Canfield was a vestryman and later was
On January 31, 1900, the Vestry adopted a testimonial
expressing their gratitude and that of the whole parish to Mr.
Horace Thompson for providing such a fitting memorial to his
wife, and to the Rev. Charles Hale for the free gift of his time
and talent in directing the work. This testimonial was signed by
E. C. Woodworth, Secretary of the Vestry. The Leake sisters, who
as young girls were living in Albany, New York, but spent their
summers in Arlington, observed much of this work. As Charles and
Frank Canfield were working on the pulpit, the sisters said,
“You ought to have a hanging pulpit”. After very crudely
explaining to the men a pulpit with invisible support, the men
became very impressed, experimented with the construction, and a
hanging pulpit became a reality.
In June of 1899 the resignation of Rev. Henry B. Ensworth was
accepted and in September of 1900 a call was extended to Rev. S.
Halsted Watkins of Calvary parish, New York. Rev. Watkins was a
gifted scholar, preacher and pastor. In 1902 the Vestry
presented him with a resolution of thanks for all his work
together with a raise in his salary to $850.00 per annum and use
of the rectory. (It is noted that at this time the rectory was
located just north of the Canfield brick house across from the
church. This house had been given to the Church by the Jesse
Burdetts at some point in the 1890’s.) During Rev. Watkins
tenure at St. James, a white marble font was given by Mr. J. R.
Judson in memory of his wife, Virginia. Rev. Watkins remained at
St. James until 1904 when he accepted as call to St. Luke’s in
St. Albans, Vermont.
The Rev. S. Halsted Watkins, making Arlington his retirement
home, has been a Godsend to the Rector, Church and community.
His interest and involvement in community affairs was rewarded
after his death when the town baseball park (where the present
recreation park now is) was called “The Watkins Memorial Field”
and the beautiful rehrodos over the altar were created in his
and his wife’s memory.
Succeeding Rev. Watkins in May of 1905 was the Rev. Alfred
Taylor. Rev. Taylor was remembered as a good musician. His
leadership of the choir was appreciated by the choir as well as
the then organist, Mr. Clarence Hard. Rev. Taylor endeared
himself to his parishioners by his friendly and informal
fellowship. But, in 1911, he accepted a position as Canon of the
Cathedral at Albany, New York, and left St. James.
The Rev. William M. Warlow became rector of St. James in May
of 1911, continuing until November of 1915 when he returned to
his native British Isles. Rev. Warlow was fond of walking and
mountain climbing. He was remembered as a good storyteller with
a keen sense of humor.
During World War I, the Rev. Kiliaen Van Rensselaer Gibson
served as Rector of St. James at a salary of $1,000. Every day
at noontime the church bell was rung and people joined together
in prayer. Rev. Gibson made every effort to interest lapsed
members through intensive calling, pastoral letters and special
services and programs. He cooperated with “Miss Mattie” Canfield
in her faithful work in the Sunday School (which she taught
continuously for 40 years). Rev. Gibson formed a Boy Scout Troop
and acted as Scoutmaster until he was able to secure Ralph
Nichols to replace him. He also organized the Brotherhood of St.
Andrew. Rev. Gibson and his five small children left St. James
in the Fall of 1918 so that he could work in the Diocese of
Western New York.
The Rev. Sherwood Roosevelt was called to be Rector of St.
James in November of 1918 and continued as such until his death
in September of 1923. Many of the parishioners were familiar
with Rev. Mr. Roosevelt as he had first come to Arlington in
1899 to convalesce from a severe illness. He came from Brooklyn
as a friend of Dr. James Canfield and summered in Arlington for
eight years. Mr. Roosevelt was a good pastor and a leader in
worthy community activities. He was a member of the School board
and was active in the campaign to build the Arlington Memorial
School, which was to be built in 1922 (but which burned to the
ground in November, 1940). During this time, on January 2, 1920,
Miss Martha (“Mattie”) Canfield died and a part of her estate
was deeded to the parish. The Vestry sold that property and
invested the proceeds with the Trustees of the Diocese; the
interest was to be used for support of the parish.
On October 28, 1923, the Vestry extended a call to the Rev.
John Mills Gilbert at a salary of $1,800 and use of the Rectory.
He came from a rectorship of ten years in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Rev. Gilbert wrote this author that he “was very happy in
Arlington” and recalled with pleasure “the fine community spirit
that prevailed in Arlington”. After two years, he left Arlington
so that he could be nearer his aging father. The youth of
Arlington remembered him for the vacation school he conducted
each summer. This school was called the “Mayflower Club”.
Classes were held in handicrafts, simple woodworking, designing,
stenciling, sewing, knitting and cooking. Between 25 to 30 were
enrolled, some from other area churches. One of the boys,
Francis Squires, later made a jig sawed woodcarving of the
Lord’s Prayer, which he presented to the Church.
Rev. Mr. Gilbert also conducted services frequently on Sunday
afternoons in the Methodist Church in Sandgate and North
Shaftsbury, often accompanied by one of the Young People’s
The Rev. George R. Brush, this author’s father, held his
first service at St. James on February 14, 1926. One of Rev.
Gilbert’s Young People’s Fellowship members (Mrs. Nora Guber
Foster) was recently remembering when the Brush family came to
Arlington. It was at an early fellowship supper that one of the
Young People’s Fellowship members, Chris Martin, was noted as
having red hair. Mrs. Anna Brush, this author’s mother, upon
seeing Chris Martin, commented, “So, my son John is not the only
copperhead among us”. From that point on, John Brush was always
known as “Copper”.
“The Rector’s Message” was a paper Rev. Brush edited, printed
and circulated each week for the thirteen years he was Rector of
St. James. This paper, in addition to containing a program of
services and a bulletin of church activities, always had a
little sermomette. This way, the parishioners were kept in touch
and those absentees had an opportunity to share in the church
teachings and thinking.
The basement under the stone part of the church was not yet
finished off in 1926. The floor was dirt with a wooden walkway
from the stairs in the northeast corner to the west center into
the church room (which is now the kitchen and lounge). The
basement contained a wood-fired, steam boiler, large enough to
be fired with four-foot logs. Each fall, Albert Buck of East
Arlington, the Junior Warden and later Senior Warden, who was
also a lumberman, furnished the church with 15 cords of wood and
it became the job of the Brush boys to throw each stick down the
wood shoot into the basement and stack it on the dirt floor.
Also lodged in the south center of the basement was a boarded up
area, which contained the plant for producing the gas, which was
piped all over the church for lighting. This, however, was a
very volatile and dangerous element. In the spring of 1927, just
after everyone had left an evening service, the plant blew up.
Fortunately, no serious damage was done; but still, fund raising
efforts were begun to commence wiring the church for
electricity. The marble memorial tablet on the right hand east
wall of the nave contains the names of people who contributed to
that project. Also, it was in 1927 when the stone wall around
the cemetery was built by David Robinson, with help from his son
and Larry Brush. The fund-raising effort for the stone wall was
continued after paying of the expense of the wall to provide an
endowment for maintenance of the cemetery. In 1940, that fund
amounted to $1,985.00. Additional bequests were made to this
endowment fund for the support of the Parish over the years.
The last Sunday of June 1930 was made notable by the
visitation of Bishop Booth for the blessing and setting apart of
the new rectory south of the church, which had been bequeathed
by John Lathrop Burdett. One of the rooms was also blessed for a
chapel and was used for weekday services and other occasions
when the church itself was unavailable.
In 1926 there was a well-supported choir and a Boys’ Choir
under the leadership of organist Miss Grace Buck. Upon Miss
Buck’s departure from Arlington, Mrs. Dorothy Russell took over
as organist. She continued the Boys’ choir, often paying each
boy $0.10 for each service they sang. Some of the choir during
this period were Annie Grout, Mary Wilson, Lena Wyman, Robert
Williams and Ed Woodworth, who completed 50 years service when
he retired from the choir in 1932.
Throughout the 1930’s Mrs. Annie Grout was organist and choir
director. The choir membership was increased and in 1935 the
choir was first vested and a Processional Cross (in memory of
Clarence D. Gilchrist) was presented by Mrs. Gilchrist and
friends. Among the choir members at the time were: Florence
Bevis, Lena Wyman, Mary Wilson, Doris Cole, Eleanor Cole. Youths
that joined were: Betty Cole, Fred Grout, Lorraine Grout, Marion
Wilcox, Eloise Henderson and Ida May Henderson. At
Christmastime, the choir would often go caroling to shut-ins,
followed by a festive (and delicious) repast at the choir
mother’s (Lillian Henderson) home. The choir also frequently had
an annual group excursion.
Rev. William J. Brown of Zion Church in Manchester assisted
in the writing of the Brush History of St. James and made this
observation about the Brush rectorship:
Every Rectory has its days of sunshine and shadow and a real
heavy shadow fell upon the 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 - but those months were characterized by great faith,
patience and fortitude. Her courage and steadfastness - remains
as a perpetual challenge to the members of her family as well as
the parishioners, and they speak volumes concerning her quiet
and devout life with all its care in the rearing of her family
and the work she felt called upon to do for her Parish.
In 1932 the Centennial of the dedication of the church by
Bishop Griswold was observed. For this purpose, Dorothy Canfield
Fisher wrote a Historical Pageant of the settling of the Parish,
which was presented in the Church.
During the Brush Rectorship, the yearly Christmas traditions
of decorating the church gained in popularity. These traditions,
which had begun in 1900, are still largely carried out and for
many years became quite a social event. Many people would be
involved with the tying, bunching and breaking of branches of
greens while others were involved in preparing refreshments.
Four half-inch ropes, about 40 feet long, were tied. These were
either spiraled around the four pillars in the nave or draped
from the two front and two back pilasters about 20 feet up to
the center where a wire was let down from a hole in the ceiling.
The four rope ends were then attached to a wire and the wire
drawn up by means of a reel with ratchet. A screen tied with
greens was set up and attached to the uprights of the choir
stalls. There were also six wreaths and a greens’ star.
The author would also have you envision what the interior of
the church looked like before electricity. There are converted
gas fixtures next to the sacristy and choir room doors. Similar
fixtures were at strategic places, such as the organ, pulpit,
lectern and along the wall. One large ring, similar to the rings
presently used, was dropped from the center hole in the ceiling.
It must have been quite an operation getting the church lit up
for an evening service as well as requiring a knowledgeable and
responsible man to do it and to be certain that the plant
produced a sufficient reserve of gas. (An explosive carbide
powder was needed for the production of that gas. After the
church was electrified, some of the kegs of carbide were still
in the basement. We Brush boys and our pals, on July 4th’s, used
to place a teaspoon of the powder on the road, attach a wick,
cover it with a tin can, light the wick and watch the can be
propelled 50 feet In the air!)
For 35 years the Vermont Diocese was fortunate to have the
spiritual leadership of the Rt. Rev. Arthur C.A. Hall, the third
Bishop of Vermont. Quoting from the Brush History of St. James,
it is observed:
From time to time in annual conventions, Bishop Hall made
definite pronouncements in formal discourse 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 of 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 doctrines and
polity of the Church.
Bishop Hall was often called upon to make speeches and hold
missions, but was always diligent in his Diocesan visitations.
By 1912, Bishop Hall determined it best, for health reasons, to
resign and at Convention that year it was voted to elect a
Bishop Coadjutor. Rev. William F. Weeks served ably in that
capacity until he was untimely stricken with cancer. The
position was filled by Rev. George Y. Bliss from 1915 to 1924.
At a Special Convention held at St. Paul’s Burlington, in
February 1925, the Rev. Samuel Babcock Booth was elected Bishop
Coadjutor. A graduate of Harvard and Virginia Theological
Seminary, he had served a rural mission in Pennsylvania. He
entered his work in Vermont with enthusiasm and quickly made
friends with clergy and laity alike. On February 26, 1930,
Bishop Hall died, whereupon Bishop Booth took on full burden of
Bishop Booth was intensely devoted to what he felt was of the
greatest importance - the surrender of man’s whole being, body,
soul and spirit to Christ’s way of life through the acceptance
of the teachings of the Catholic faith. He cherished the plan of
making Rock Point into a Diocesan Center for clergy and people
young and old to come for conferences, fellowship and retreats.
That summer of 1930 marked the first Young People’s Conference.
This author and his twin brother Fred were St. James’ delegates
to that conference and we were particularly inspired by two of
the counselors - Bob Booth, the Bishop’s son, and Harvey
Butterfield, at that time a student at UVM. (Harvey Butterfield
was later to be Rector of Trinity Church in Rutland; Rector of
St. Paul’s in Burlington; and eventually Bishop of Vermont.)
Bishop Booth’s forcefulness as a preacher and his spiritual
leadership quickly became widely recognized and the frequent
demands placed upon him eventually taxed his physical strength.
After a brief leave of absence, he returned to his active duties
only to be stricken with pneumonia and, after a week’s battle,
died. Bishop Booth was buried on June 17, 1935 under the chancel
of the outdoor chapel at Rock point - one of the fruits of his
On February 24, 1936, the Rev. Vedder Van Dyck was
consecrated Bishop of Vermont, becoming the Fifth Bishop of
Vermont. He had an unusual capacity as both preacher and
administrator. As Bishop, he quickly became familiar with the
special problems of the Diocese and showed a peculiar
versatility in helping resolve those problems. Since the Diocese
was experiencing financial troubles, it was decided to
concentrate on Rock Point’s Hopkins Hall.
On May 1, 1939, the Rev. Philip T. Fifer entered upon the
Rectorship of St. James. His arrival was well timed in that Rev.
Brush six months earlier had notified the Vestry of his
intention to resign as of the last Sunday of April. One of the
chief interests of Fr. Fifer’s brief (two year) stay in
Arlington was to place religious education on a more efficient
basis. He maintained that in spite of, and being mindful of, the
affectionate and generous devotion of the many laymen and
laywomen who had staffed the Sunday schools over the past 100
years, in his view the children were not being adequately
grounded in Christian faith and Christian living. He felt that
wherever possible, he should assist in the teaching and that the
teaching should be placed in the school and on school time.
Happily, this was put into effect in the latter part of the 1939
- 1940 school year, religion having temporarily been dropped
from the school curriculum due to the reorganization of the
school following the building having burnt to the ground.
Father Fifer was also a musician and he gave a great deal of
thought to the matter of church music. It was during this time
that Annie Grout, then organist and choir directress had
recently attended a church music conference and the emphasis on
church music became Plainsong. The Merbeck music was used
regularly and the “Missa DeAngeles” and “Missa Mariallis” were
used for Christmas, Easter and festivals. The organ at the time
was an old tracker organ, which had tremendous volume and caused
the church to seem to tremble with the reverberations of the
deep bass motes.
In March of 1941 the chancel was enriched by the addition of
a tabernacle and sanctuary lamp, given by the Leake and Jackson
families. The Fifer Rectorship was enriched by the charm of four
young children in the Rectory household and a wife whose
devotion to her family and church earned her the esteem of the
These reflections on the story of our past bring to mind the
words of the Psalmist:
The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground;
Yea, I have a goodly heritage.
C. Introduction To Supplement
In 1928 my Father deemed it prudent to arrange to have a mission
week at St. James. For that purpose, he invited Dr. John Henry
Hopkins, Vermont’s first Bishop’s grandson, himself a former
Rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Chicago who at that time
was retired and living in South Hero, Vermont. Dr. Hopkins’
wife, Marie Graves Hopkins, was the daughter of one of our
former Rectors, Rev. Gemont Graves. Mrs. Hopkins, recalling when
she lived here at the age of ten years old, went into the Church
to point out her pew and was completely surprised to see the
changes in the interior of the Church.
During the course of the week, Mrs. Hopkins recounted to us
how her father’s first name had originated. When he had been
born, his parents disagreed on naming him. One wanted to name
him George and the other wanted to name him Vermont. Finally
compromising, they ended up calling him Gemont.
Also during the course of the week, Dr. Hopkins conducted a
daily session in which he informally talked to the young people
(of which I was one). He pointed out to us that we were very
fortunate to have the potential to live in the next fifty years
because that time framework would witness a gradual change
toward Christian unity and that the Episcopal Church would be
uniquely situated to be leaders in this field due to our
tradition of being both Catholic and Protestant.
And so, in this supplement to the Brush History of St. James
I think that it is a dominant aspect to consider how this came
D. Our More Recent Past
A few days after Father Fifer’s first service at St. James (May,
1939), he attended a meeting of the St. James Guild (later to
become known as the Women of St. James). He noted to them that
May of 1940 would be the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of
Vermont and he suggested that St. James offer to host the
Diocesan Convention. With the women’s consent, the offer was
presented and accepted. One involved discussion at that
Convention concerned President Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease Program
and the involvement of the United States in assisting Great
Britain by providing ships and war materials. That discussion
was ended following a comment by Oscar Rickford (an outstanding
layman from Northern Vermont), who spoke:
You mean to tell me that if your neighbors, say Shaftsbury,
should have a huge forest fire that the people of Arlington
would wait until the fire spread to the Arlington town line
before a single man would go to help fight it?
Norman Rockwell lived in Arlington throughout the 1940’s and,
although not regular churchgoers, he and his wife were
Episcopalians and made certain their children attended Sunday
School. Mr. Rockwell was most generous to St. James when, in the
late ‘40’s, the Vestry set about raising the funds for work on
the church heating plant. Mr. Rockwell gave the church an
original painting, which was auctioned, and, with an additional
donation from the Guild, an oil burner fund was established. The
steam boiler and old radiator had been installed during the
Rectorship of Rev. Mr. Randall, who came to Arlington in 1877.
In the early 1930’s, Byron Danforth, our local plumber, replaced
a leaky section of the steam boiler; but, in spite of much
repairs on the radiators, they continued to leak. By the end of
World War II in 1946, materials were once again available and
the Vestry arranged for the conversion of the steam burner to
oil and the replacement of piping and radiators to the present
In 1943 Fr. Fifer resigned as Rector and in the fall of 1943
Fr. Richard Lyman was instituted Rector. Sunday School classes
were reconvened, being held after the 10:00 service. A large
group (10 to 12) of acolytes was gathered and they joined the
“Order of St. Stephen”. Also, the membership of the Parish was
increased by nine when all of Mrs. Cyril Hoyt’s family was
baptized. But, Fr. Lyman’s rectorship was short and he resigned
in the spring of 1945.
In the mid-40’s, Annie Grout left Arlington and H. W. Congdon
became organist. He advised that the old tracker organ was
getting harder to keep in tune and, in the early 1950’s; he
located a church in Troy, New York, which was getting a new
organ and was willing to give St. James their pneumatic organ
provided St. James would transport it. It was a wonderful gift,
but, once put together, it too would not stay in tune, so a new
organ was ordered. The manual of the new pipe organ was
originally placed in the chancel on the pulpit side and three of
the four choir stalls were on the other side. It soon became
apparent that that placement was not good, so when the choral
bass rank of pipes were added, the manual was moved to its
present location, north and in front of the pulpit.
Next, Fr. Clement Belcher was called to St. James from
Bethel, Vermont. Of the thirty-five rectors (Bethel) St. James
has had, Fr. Belcher served the longest - 25 years. (Other long
terms were Rev. Brownson, 23 years; Rev. Wadleigh, 20 years,
Rev. Brush, 13 years. All the others served 5 years or less.)
In the early 1950’s Mrs. Marie Mattison returned to Arlington
to teach in the local schools. She also volunteered to teach the
St. James Sunday School and continued faithfully in that service
for 20 years. During those years she held classes in the tower
room, the vestry room, the kitchen, the church room (now the
lounge), and in a cloak room (which no longer exists) off the
When Fr. Belcher came to St. James, he was a bachelor living
with his elderly mother. When she required nursing care, he was
assisted by Agnes Williams, who had returned to Arlington to
care for her own elderly parents. Fr. Belcher and Agnes married
in the late 1940’s and were a very devout couple. Fr. Belcher
related to this author his difficulties in securing a Directress
for St. Mary’s Altar Guild. I related to him my father’s similar
problem and resolution by appointing my mother directress,
provided every member cooperated in the work, which resolution
had worked well. The Belchers followed this suggestion and from
then on, Agnes’ work for the Altar Guild was very dedicated for
the balance of her life.
Prior to the death of Fr. Belcher’s mother, she had given to
the church an electronic carillon. During the service, Mr.
Congdon would often slip off the organ bench after playing the
Sanctus and operate the thumb stricker during the Prayer of
The repair and maintenance of the church building has been
the diligent concern of the Vestry and the Women of St. James at
all times. In 1949, the Guild (later becoming the Women of St.
James) had renovated the kitchen and had the Church room (now
lounge) floor converted from cement to wood and covered with
carpeting. The painting of the interior of the church has always
been a major project. It was done in the 1930’s at which time
Mrs. Harlan Miller, a parishioner and an artist herself, chose a
beige tint to match the beige in the narthex stained glass
windows. The next time, a scaffolding platform on wheels was
used. The height of the platform was a foot or so under the
pillars and it covered an area from one pillar to the next and
eliminated the use of dangerous, extra long extension ladders.
Maintenance of the church tower has also been a project of
concern. This author remembers the tower being painted in 1928
or 1929. At that time a young man, Frank Brownell, hung from a
rope sling from the tower and completed the job. The next
painting occurred in 1948 or 1949 when some steeplejacks did the
work. In addition to painting the tower, however, there has also
been structural work performed. In the mid-50’s the beams and
side walls of the tower were renovated. The outside boards had
become so punky that a pencil could be stuck through them and
the only thing holding it together was the paint! The tower was
well shored up at this point, but no work was done on the
In the late 1950’s Mr. Francis Dunbar from Manchester was a
regular attendant and involved parishioner at St. James. Upon
the death of his mother in the early sixties, he decided to
furnish the church with a parish house in memory of his mother.
To that end, he proposed to give a small house situated on his
property to St. James, provided it could be moved down Route 7
and set up between the Church and the Rectory (in about the
position where the garage is presently). However, the estimate
by a professional house mover was so prohibitive, that the plans
were discarded. Instead, Mr. Dunbar funded the conversion of the
church basement from a dirt floor to cement and it was at this
point that the stairway to the basement on the south side of the
narthex was built. The west entrance was built at this same time
and the stairs from the music room behind the organ along with
the steps down into the lounge were housed under one roof. The
renovations in Dunbar Hall were complete enough to use by 1966.
During the sixties, Lorraine Moody took over as organist and
choir directress and continued faithfully in that role until
Also in the 1960’s, the Vestry realized that the steam boiler
itself was nearing a century old and decided to replace it. The
then current Junior Warden, Donald Brown, had an engineering
firm study the requirements and furnish a blueprint for the job
- which consisted of a very complicated, but efficient plan. The
Job was completed by Karl Kilburn of Manchester and we are still
enjoying the efficiency of that system. It was also at this time
that it was noticed that at least two of the tower finials were
pointing at an angle considerably off the perpendicular. Because
the tower was considered to be in a dangerous condition, its
door was kept locked.
From the period of 1945 to 1970, St. James was blessed with
the spiritual leadership of Rector Fr. Clement Belcher. His
wife, Agnes, was also a great asset to the church and during
their years at St. James, parish life maintained a steady
spiritual growth and was kept on an even keel. Father and Mrs.
Belcher retired to a home in East Arlington in the latter part
of 1970 where they lived happily until his final illness in
1973. Agnes continued her work in the Church and was
particularly revered for her dedicated work in directing the
The Rt. Rev. Vedder Van Dyck, fifth Bishop of Vermont,
continued steadfastly for 25 years until his retirement in 1961,
when the Rev. Harvey Butterfield was elected and consecrated
In the early 1960’s the Diocese had a Capital Funds Drive (E.D.F.
- Episcopal Diocese Fund) through which $400,000 was raised for
the service of the whole Diocese. A Diocesan office building was
constructed as well as a chapel for the University Campus. In
addition, a quarter of the Fund was set aside for a Revolving
Fund to be used to grant interest-free loans to Vermont
parishes, which has been of tremendous benefit to all parishes
throughout Vermont. Since that initial Drive, two others (E.D.F.
II and “Word ‘79”) were held. These drives have been very
beneficial and have bound the Diocese into a strong, cohesive
Father Donald Boyer (Dean of St. Paul’s, Burlington) assisted
St. James in a very intense self-study and, in the early 1970’s,
Bishop Butterfield recommended Rev. Lawrence Sherwin as Rector
for St. James. Fr. Sherwin was called and accepted, and was
instituted in December 1970. Rev. Sherwin had been born and
raised in Bennington County, Vermont. Being very social-minded,
he asked the Parish to allow the Lounge and Dunbar Hall to be
used five days a week for a Day Care Center, which was in
operation for about two years. This proved to be a great service
to the community but, lacking both sufficient adult supervision
and adequate funds, it shortly closed. Fr. Sherwin had also
arranged with the Vestry that five days a week he serve as a
Psychologist through facilities in Bennington. Within the
Church, Father Sherwin felt that in celebrating the Holy
Eucharist, the celebrant should not have his back to the people,
so it was at this time that the altar was moved away from the
wall. During this period there was also a change in the Prayer
book, which had been in trial use for ten years.
In the early 1970’s, Bishop Butterfield became troubled with
a heart condition and by 1973 decided to retire, whereupon the
Rev. Robert Kerr (of St. Paul’s, Burlington) was elected and
consecrated the Seventh Bishop of Vermont. Bishop Kerr offered a
great deal of assistance to St. James in counseling and guiding
the Vestry in calling a Rector to replace Fr. Sherwin, who had
resigned in May of 1974.
In January of 1975, Reverend Adams, his wife Joanna (now
Taylor) and their two children, Suzanne and Jason, moved to
Arlington and Father Adams was instituted in February 1975.
Though the new prayer book had been on trial for ten years,
the congregation had been wavering in its use. Father Adams
ordered new prayer books and led the congregation into Rites I
and II. With the help of his wife, he developed a curriculum for
the Sunday School and it was during his time that the Sunday
School teachers and Sunday School children made individual
tapestries, as well as the beautiful tapestry over the baptismal
font, which was dedicated on Easter, 1976.
Together with Rev. David Andrews of the Federated Church,
Father Adams started an ecumenical youth group. He was a
community oriented parish priest and had good rapport with the
local clergy and lay people. He served as President of the
Arlington Park and Recreation Board. Father Adams was an
exceptional counselor and many of the congregation remember his
welcome strength in times of stress.
In the spring of 1979, Father Adams left Church and Ministry
to decide on the course of his career. He is currently doing
supply work in Massachusetts, and is enrolled in a doctoral
In the early 1970’s, one of the tower finials had fallen to
the ground, which set the Vestry to the immediate task of
arranging for the removal of the other finials and recapping the
tower with copper. The loss of the finials was severely noted,
as the Church now seemed to have lost its historical character.
It was in 1974, as plans for the National Bi-Centennial were
underway, that Jane Gardner (Town Representative in Montpelier
and a Vestry member) was able to have St. James declared a
National Historical Site and obtained matching grant monies.
Through the generosity of all the townspeople, $7,000 was raised
(and then matched by the Federal Government). Donald Brown drew
up the plans - the finials and balustrade were made at Miles
Lumber Company in Arlington; Ted Hoyt and his crew built the
foundation which consisted of posts sticking 4 - 5 feet above
the roof upon which the eight finials were placed, or capped,
over the posts. The finials themselves were 15 feet long. A
construction company did the final placing of the finials over
the posts by use of a huge telescoping crane. By August 4, 1976,
the job was complete.
It was in the mid - 1970’s that the interior of the church
was again repainted. This time, the contractor completed the
work within one week so that there was no break in the Sunday
During and since the Rectorship of Father Adams, there has
been the development of an increasingly close family
relationship in Parish life. Part of this has been brought about
through the use of the new liturgy of the Prayer book, which
requires more participation by the entire congregation. However,
it has largely been due to the excellent leadership of our
There has developed a tremendous spirit of participation and
cooperation among all parishioners. One would be hard pressed to
bring to mind any member who is not involved in some activity of
the Parish - be it acolyte, lay reader, usher, choir or Altar
Guild member, activities of the Women of St. James, Vestry, the
Missions Committee, the Sunday School, coffee hour, prayer
meeting, printing and mailing of the weekly and monthly
Much of this growth and development in spirit as well as in
members and finances has come about recently through the
leadership and charisma of Father Douglas Culton.
When Father Adams left, the congregation went into a lengthy
and intensive self-study with the help and support of Canon
Howard Van Dyne. In September of 1979, the Vestry called Father
Douglas Culton, Assistant Rector of Fox Hollow Chapel,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Father Doug, as he was known to most,
his wife Yvonne, and their two children, Duncan and Heather,
moved into the Rectory and established a real feeling of change
and growth in the Parish.
During the next four years, Father Doug started a “Burning
Books” discussion group, a Bible Study group, a Missions
Committee, the Saint James Players group, which produced
Everyman for the community ..., the Church was the meeting place
for a food cooperative, was responsible for a community garden
and contributed to the Food Shelf of the Bennington-Rutland
Father Doug continued the Youth Group, and the Sunday School
was further developed by him and his wife. When he arrived, the
Sunday School was one class. Under his direction, it grew to
three classes and a Children’s Choir was re-activated. The
Cultons attracted many young couples with young children.
Like his two predecessors, Father Doug was community
oriented. He joined and led ecumenical events, and became a
member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. His caring extended
not only to his parishioners, but also to others in the
community. He was there for anyone in need.
In 1982, he enrolled in a Doctoral program to further his
education, and established within the Parish a group of
Co-Learners who advised and helped him with his courses. In the
summer of 1983, he headed the Episcopal Summer Camp Program at
Bishop Booth Conference Center, Rock Point, and was active on
many committees within the Diocese.
It was during his time here that the Rectory was refurbished
with white aluminum siding and the Culton’s third child, Nicole,
Supportive of one another, Father Doug and Yvonne were
attractive and dynamic leaders for four years. In November of
1983, Father Doug received a call from St. Peter’s Church,
Lewes, Delaware. He felt a deep spiritual calling to that Parish
and left St. James on December 31st, 1983. He was instituted in
his new church on April 7th, 1984.
E. Our Future
Earlier in this supplement to the Brush History of St. James, I
mentioned that in 1929 Dr. John H. Hopkins, the grandson of the
first Bishop of Vermont, in conducting a mission here, had
predicted to us young people that we would witness the
development of Christian unity. I would be remiss if I closed
this writing without any further word of this important phase of
the Christian Church and history. Dr. Hopkins claimed that in
the two thousand year history of the Christian Church, great
changes came in five hundred year epochs. This epoch in the
twentieth century is for Christian unity.
For many years now the clergy of this area have been meeting
regularly for dialogues. This usually resulted in planning
ecumenical services or study groups - such as Thanksgiving Day
service and the Lenten study group. To me, the importance of
this development is that we recognize that we are all one family
in Christ’s Church and recognize each other as brothers and
sisters in Christ.
I am glad to note that in celebrating St. James’
Bi-Centennial, we have united with the First Congregational
Church in Manchester and the United Church in Dorset, who are
also celebrating their Bi-Centennials. This is done in the
spirit of the times.
At our first service celebrating our Bi-Centennial, the Very
Rev. H. C. N. Williams, retired Provost of Coventry Cathedral in
England, in his sermon, gave an interesting comment - that in
celebrating the Holy Eucharist we are not alone but are with
“all the company of heaven”, so we should be aware that all the
parishioners of St. James in the past two hundred years are
there celebrating with us.
So may this “Goodly Heritage” of which we are proud be “a
never ending incentive to nobler deeds, higher thoughts and
greater achievements” in St. James in the next century.
A listing of Rectors who have served
St. James Episcopal Church, Arlington, Vermont
Rectors of Bethel Church:
Rev. James Nichols 1786 - 1788
Rev. Russell Catlin 1792 - 1794
Rectors of Bethel and Bethesda (West Arlington):
Rev. Abraham Brownson 1802 - 1826
Rev. J. Howland Coit 1826 - 1828
Rectors of St. James Church:
Rev. James M. Tappan 1828 - 1829
Rev. William S. Perkins 1829 - 1833
Rev. Lyman Foot 1833 - 1835
Rev. John Grigg 1835 - 1837
Rev. Anson B. Hard 1839 - 1844
Rev. Frederick A. Wadleigh 1844 - 1864
Rev. Charles S. Hale 1865 - 1868
Rev. Francis W. Smith 1869 - 1871
Rev. Gemont Graves 1872 - 1875
Rev. John R. Randall 1877 - 1883
Rev. Francis Gilliat 1884 - 1886
Rev. Eli H. Canfield (Acting Rector) 1883 and 1886
Rev. George H. Pratt 1887 - 1888
Rev. Richard C. Searing 1888 - 1893
Rev. James C. Carnahan 1894 - 1897
Rev. Henry B. Ensworth 1897 - 1899
Rev. S. Halsted Watkins 1900 - 1904
Rev. Russell Taylor 1905 - 1909
Rev. William M. Warlow 1911 - 1915
Rev. Kiliaen Van Rensselaer Gibson 1917 - 1918
Rev. Sherwood Roosevelt 1918 - 1923
Rev. John M. Gilbert 1923 - 1925
Rev. George R. Brush 1926 - 1939
Rev. Philip T. Fifer 1939 - 1943
Rev. Richard E. Lyman 1944 - 1945
Rev. Clement G. Belcher 1945 - 1970
Rev. Lawrence Sherwin 1970 - 1974
Rev. John Adams 1975 - 1979
Rev. Douglas Culton 1979 - 1983
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