George D Fisher.

History and reminiscences of the Monumental church, Richmond, Va., from 1814 to 1878 online

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Dtnjtston v>'

Section .



Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2009 with funding from

Princeton Theological Seminary Library




FROM 1814 TO 187 8,



Whittet & Shepperson, Tenth and Main Streets..


"Entered according to act of Congress, in tlie year 1880, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at "Washington, D. C.

Printed by


Richmond, "S'a.

Bound by

Randolph & English,
Richmond, "\'a.




Of Historical Reminiscences is affectionately

G. D. F.



Pkefatokt Letteb, by Eight Eev. Bishop Dxtdlet, xi

Location of Church ; Note on the burning of the The-
atre, ..... t . 1

Proceedings at Common Hall day after fire, . . 6

Interment of the dead, ..... 13

Resolutions adopted by citizens, Common Council, and

Senate of United States, .... 14

Notices of meetings, &e, for building Monument and
Church ; Plan of Church and Monument, and sales of
pews, ....... 38

Meeting of General Assembly of the Church ; Resolutions.

itc, on election and consecration of Bishop Moore, . 41

Sermon by Bishop Hobart on occasion of Bishop Moore's

consecration, ...... 57

Bishop Moore's arrival in Richmond ; His views of society,

&c., and address to the Convention. ... 61

Bishop Moore's sermon on the death of Mrs. Davenport, a

friend of Judge Coalter's children, ... 69

Meetings of Conventions, »Si:c., .... 71

Death of Rev. John Buchanan ; Notices of same ; His burial

under chancel of St. John's Church, ... 81

Meetings of Conventions, &e. , . . . .87

Death of Mrs. Moore, and Bishop's letter to his son on the

occasion, ...... 90

General Marquis Lafayette's visit to the Church, in Novem-
ber, 1824, ...... 92

Meetings of Conventions ; Parochial reports ; Bishop's ad-
dresses, &c., to Convention, .... 92

vi . Contents.


List of Communicauts and Marriages in 1829, prepared
by Rev. E.. B. Croes, assistant minister to Bishop
Moore, ....... 104

Regret of Bishop Moore on resignation of^Rev. R. B. Croes,

and the Bishop's letter to him, . . . 108

Parochial reports of Bishop Moore, . . . 112

A beautiful co^sy of the New Testament in golden letters

presented to Bishop Moore, and his reply, . . 122

Parochial report to annual meeting of council, . . 12-1

Rev. Thomas Jackson ; his sudden attack of illness during

service, . . . . . . 125

Meetings of Conventions ; Parochial report, &c., . 127

Bishop Moore's visit to Pennsylvania, and General Conven-
tion at New York, in fall of 1841, . . .139

His return to Richmond, and then to Lynchburg by the
canal ; arrival and preaching there ; and sudden illness,
which terminated his life on 12th of November, 1841, 140

His remains brought to Richmond by canal ; his funeral at
Monumental Church, and sketch of his character by Rev.
Wm. Norwood, his assistant minister, . . 144

His interment in City Cemetery ; Resolutions, &c., . 149

Monument to his memory by citizens, . . . 158

Sunday-school connected with Monumental Church ; names

of first officers, directors, teachers, &c., . . 161

Farewell address of Captain Thomas Nelson, as superinten-
dent of Sunday-school, .... 165

List of officers and teachers of same, . . . 169

Names of ministers who have been trained in the Monumen-
tal Church Sunday-school, . . . .170

Interesting letter from Mr. Thomas H. Drew to Colonel T.

H. Ellis, in June, 1868, about the church, &c., . 174

Note from Mr. James Evans, relative to part of Mr. Drew's

letter about the first organist in the church, &c. , . 187

List of communicants, recorded by Rev. William Norwood,
at Convention in 1841 ; last report made by Bishop
Moore, ...... 190

Meeting of Convention at Staunton in 1842, and Bishop

IVleade's short address, .... 194

Bishop Johns' election as assistant bishop, . . 195

Contents. vii


Memorandum by Kev. William Norwood of additional names
of communicants between 1841 and 18i2, with bai^tisms,
confirmations, marriages and funerals, . . 198

Letter of consecration for Rev. John Johns, of Maryland,

as assistant bishop in Diocese of Virginia, . . 212

Convention held in Monumental Church in 1843 ; Bishop

Johns' address on the occasion, . . . 214

Resolutions adopted on petition to the General Assembly of

Virginia, for legal rights of church property, . 216

Subject of salaries for the two bishops, . . . 217

Conventions of 1844, 1845, .... 218

Missionary eifort in Richmond, .... 220'

Death of Rev. "William Duval, a missionary,' . . 222

Names of assistant ministers of Monumental Church, . 224
Remarks of compiler at close of first part of this History of

Monumental Church, ..... 225

Memoranda ; Formation of new congregation in December,
1845 ; Election of new vestry upon the resignation of
old ; Sales of pews to pay off debt of former congrega-
tion, ....... 227

Vestry meetings and parochial reports of Rev. George Wood-
bridge, called to Monumental in December, 1845, up to
18G0, ....... 239

Meeting of Convention in Charlottesville in 18G0 ; Report
of state of the church and parochial report of Mon-
umental Church, and vestry meetings, . . 258
Meeting of Convention in Richmond in 1861, . . 267
Bishop Meade's interesting and last address, . . 269^
Resolutions on his address and committee's report on state of

the church, . . . . . .276

Continuation of parochial reports of Monumental Church,

with vestry meetings in 1862, . . . 282:

Bishop Johns' interesting report, with extract of his sermon

on death of Bishop Meade, .... 284

Bishop Meade's funeral at St. Paul's Church, and his tem-
porary burial at Hollywood, .... 292^

Meeting of Convention again in Richmond in 1863, . 294

Bishop Johns' interesting report to Convention relative to
the church ; Visits to the army and preaching to Con-

viii Contents.


federate soldiers ; A short report of committee on state

of the chiirch, . . . . . 294

The council met again in St. Paul's Church, Kichmond, on

18th May, 1864, . . . . . .297

Another interesting report from Bishop Johns, as well as

from committee on state of the church, . . 297

Parochial rejiort of Monumental Church, with vestry meet-
ings and death of Mr. J. Adams Smith, . . 305

The late civil war ended, 180"), April, . . .306

Meeting of Convention in September, 18G5 ; Bishop Johns'

address on the occasion, rbsohitions, &c., . . 306

Meeting of Convention in Alexandria in 1866, with parochial

reports of Monumental Church, and vestry meetings, 326

Meeting of Convention in Staunton in 1867 ; Bishop Johns'
address, calls attention to the subject of ritualism, and
alludes also to subject of division of diocese, . 332

.Meeting of council in 18(58 at Lynchburg; Bishop Johns
again calls attention to ritualism ; Parochial report of
Monumental Church ; Vestry meetings and death of
Mr. James H. Poindexter, one of our vestry ; Conven-
tion of 1869 in Fredericksbiarg ; iiishop Johns again
alludes to ritualism ; Resolutions adopted ; Parochial
report of Monumental Church, vestry meetings, &c., 336

'Convention held in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1870 ; Paro-
chial report ; Vestry meetings, &c. , . . . 342

^Convention at Petersburg in 1871 ; Parochial report ; Vestry

meetings, ifec, and new trustees for church, . . 344

■Meeting of Convention at Norfolk in 1872 ; Parochial report

of Monumental Church, and vestry meetings, . 347

Convention in Winchester in 1873 ; Parochial report of

Monumental Church, vestry meetings, &c., . . 352

Convention in 1874 at Charvottesville ; Parochial report of
Monumental Church ; Vestry meetings ; Important re-
pairs to dome, &c., ..... 355

Convention in 1875 in Richmond ; Parochial report; Vestry

meetings ; New tin roof on building, &c. , . . 358

An interesting report of Bishop Johns, giving account of
his attendance on the General Convention at New York
in October, and |cousecratiou of Bishop Dudley in Bal-
timore in fall of 1874, .... 361

Contents. ix


Convention in Alexandria in 1876 ; Bishop Whittle's annual
address — very interesting — announcing death of clergy-
men of the diocese, and that of Bishop Johns ; Paro-
chial report of Monumental Church, and important ves-
try meetings, ...... 364

Meeting of Council in Staunton in 1877 ; Parochial report
of Monumental Church ; Vestry meetings, and interest-
ing report of Bishop Whittle, . . . 374

Oouncil at Lynchburg in 1878 : Parochial re^jort of Monu-
mental Church, by senior warden ; Vestry meetings ;
Kesolutions, &c., on the death of Dr. Woodbridge, in
February, 1878 ; His funeral from the church ; Burial
at Hollywood Cemetery, .... 382

Adjourned meeting, 18th February ; Resolution of Mr.
Potts for memorial window in church, to memory of
Dr. Woodbridge, ..... 385

Call by vestry of Monumental Church to Eev. Dr. J. H.

Eccleston, of Newark, New Jersey, . . . 386

His decline of call, ...... 387

Call of Eev. J. G. Armstrong, of Wheeling, W. Va. ; his de-
cline at first, and then reconsideration, and final accept-
ance, ....... 387

Annual meeting of pew-holders, and election of vestry for
another year ; Meeting afterwards of vestry ; Resignation
of former i-egistrar, to take place after first of June
next ; Resolutions of thanks to registrar, and his resig-
nation recorded on minute book kept by him, . 388

Address of Bishop Whittle, at Council at Lynchburg, in 1878,
on the subject of worldly amusements, particularly round
dancing, . . . . . . . 392

Request by members to have sermon furnished for publica-
tion. ...... . 396

Private diary of Dr. Woodbridge, . . . .397

Interesting meeting of the General Convention of church in
the United States ; Continuance of Dr. Woodbridge's
diary, ....... 400

Correspondence of members of the Monumental Church
about his thirtieth year's sermon ; Dr. Woodbridge's com-
pliance with request for its publication, . . 423

Eulogy on Dr. Woodbridge by Mrs. Chalmers, . . 442

Valedictory, . . . . . .447





Infant Baptisms,


Adult Baptisms,




Marriages, .








My Dear Mr. Fisher: — I am more gratified than
I can tell you to know that you have completed the
work begun so long ago by Col. Ellis, and that now
its children, scattered throughout the country, willy
through your joint labors, possess a complete history
of the Monumental Cluirch.

I must add, too, that my gratification is increased
by your kind request that I should write this pre-
fatory letter, and that so my name will be connected
with your published reminiscences of that dear
old mother, in whose arms was nursed my spiritual

I can but recall, as I begin to write, the days
now long past, when I sat, as a child, in dear — ever
dear — Mr. Tyler's class, in the Sunday-school room,
just to the right of the door, .which was in the front of
the old buildine-.

xii Prefatory Letter.

You yourself were then the superintendent; and
I can hear even now the very tones of your voice,
as you read from tlie little green paper-backed " Of-
fice of Devotion," the service at the opening and
closing of the school. We had but very few — almost
none — of the modern improved appliances for Sun-
day-scliool teaching. The cards given us as rewards
for punctual attendance and for excellence of recita-
tion, were by no means works of art. The books
in the library were hardly of thrilling interest to
the youtliful mind, and tlie wood-cuts with which
they were illustrated were but feeble specimens of
pictorial skill. The hymns we were taught to sing
in the scliool were only those of the prayer-book
•collection. Our annual celebration, when we united
witli all of our church Sunday-schools in the city,
were not very elaborate performances. We did not
"set up our banners for tokens" of our success; and
the chief musical feature was the singing respon-
sively of the old hymn, "Come let our voices join in
one glad song of praise." And yet the school
flourished; yes, flourished in the best sense — in the
training of boys and girls to be Christian church-
men and church-women, who can never forget the
teaching tliey therein received.

You will not understand me as meaning in any
sense to depreciate the advantfages we now possess in

Pbefatoky Letter. xiii

the matter of instruction books, of hymnals, of ser-
vices better adapted to the tastes of the young. Ko;.
and yet I would that we of this generation should
learn from your record of the past, that these im-
provements in machinery cannot effect the great re-
sult without true spiritual life and earnestness in
teachers and otlicers, for without these new agencies
mighty results have been accomplished.

Dear old Monumental! how vividly fresli is the
recollection, and must ever be, of tlie Sundays spent
within thy walls, where the levity of childhood was
solemnized into thoughtful reverence by the legend
in great letters above the chancel — "Give ear, O
Lord !"

I think that even now I could point oat the pew
occupied by each particular family of the congrega-
tion of that day. They are gone, nearly all gone.
The parents are sleeping in honored graves, and
their children, in the majority of cases, are scattered,,
and new people are occupying the old places. But
so it comes to pass that the teaching of the old
church is " gone out into all lands, and her words
unto the ends of the earth." The good man who
for so many years fed "this flock of God," and
"gave them meat in due season," he has entered
into his rest. I rejoice that such memorial of his
life and works is to be given to the world, for it

xiv Prefatory Letter.

shall teach a lesson sadly needing to be learned
in our day. He was not in any sense a jpopular
• preacher. None of the arts and tricks of tlie rheto-
rician belonged to him.

Neither in matter nor in manner did he ever stoop
to the sensational. Week after week, year after
y^ear, there came from liis pulpit the same certain
sound, ever the full, free gospel of Jesus Christ,
whereof the church i%. the witness and keeper.
Week after week he implored men to enter the ark
of God, the scliool of Christ, that tlierein they might
find food and drink, rest and peace, knowledge and

This was all ; and as the 3^ears passed by he
gathered together a great flock, wliereof you have
given the record. Patient in the tribulation which
must ever attend faithful work ; not Imrried by dis-
content into change of feed ; the pastor of one same
congregation from the daj" of his ordination to the
day of his death ; it is good that we shall be bidden
to behold the result, that thereby the ministers of
to-day may learn to have like patience, and to show
like diligence, that thereby the love of change, the
roving from parish to parish, the crying evil of the
church of to-day, may be rebuked.

It is not for me, a cliild of the full manhood of
this venerable parish, to speak of the days of its

Pkefatory Letter. xv

youth, and yet I cannot refrain from adding my
testimony to the eminent character and the remark-
able works of that man of God, whom lie did send
to be the first rector of the Monumental Church,
and the second bishop of the diocese of Virginia.

I was taught to reverence him by her who taught
me to say, " Our Father." The reading of my man-
hood has but intensified my reverence for him as,
under God, the founder of the great diocese of Vir-
ginia. When he came to Virginia, we remember,
that but a few years had passed since Bishop Meade
had journeyed away from the annual convention of
the Church, crying in bitterness of spirit, "Lost,
lost, lost."

When he departed to Paradise, leaving the burden
of the Episcopate to the shoulders of his assistant,
" the little one had become a thousand." And in
both of these men, Bishop Moore and Bishop Meade,
was illustrated that fact, which I rejoice to believe
every page of your History will set forth, that in
diligent and trustful use of the old methods, in pray-
erful reliance upon the Spirit of God, is the hope
that this church of our love shall conquer the land.
Yes, believe the value, the great value of such volu-
mes as that you have compiled, the illustration they
give of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ,
administered according to the pure and simple prin-

xvi Prefatory Letter.

ciples which this Church has inherited from the
earliest days.

Let us moderns read and learn what faithful men
and women could and did accomplish without the
beauties of Gothic architecture, without the aid of
novelities of ritual, without the meritricious attrac-
tions of medievalism, and equally without the novel-
ties of Protestant sectarian device, or the undignified
degradation of the pulpit to a platform. They stood,
these men and women, in " the old paths," and there-
in they labored.

Blessed be God's holy name for the result ! May
we, their descendants, stand where they stood, read
what they taught, labor as they labored, with their
faith and zeal, departing neither to the right hand
nor to the left.

Ever faithfully and affectionately, yours,

T. U. Dudley,
Assistant Bishop of Kentucky.

Lexington, Ky., April 24, 1880.


Monumental Church.

ri^HE Monumental Church, situated on tlie north
-L side of Broad, between Twelfth street and College
street, in the plan of the city of Richmond, stands
upon the former site of the Iti(dimond Theatre, which
building was destroyed by fij-e on the night of the
twenty-sixth of December, eighteen hundred and

A popular actor and a favorite play had drawn to-
gether on tliat occasion an audience of about six hun-
dred persons, among wliom were some of the most
distinguished men of Virginia, and a large number
of the most cultivated and refined of the citizens of
Richmond, male and female. Of tiiese, seventy-twO'
perished in the flames.*

*NoTE. — It was the last week of performance that season, and
two new plays were to be acted — the first called ' ' The Father ; or
Family Feuds ;"' and the second, " Raymond and Agnes ; or The
Bleeding Nun."

The printed hand-bill for that evening's performance, containing
the above, together with all the names of the actors, was found
among the papers of Mr. John Warrock, a printer of long stand-
ing in Eichmoud, and a worthy communicant of the Monumental.

"2 History of the

This dreadfal event caused a widespread sorrow
and regret, not only in Virginia, but even beyond its

Church, who died many years after that sad event ; aud it is now
hanging in a plain fi'ame, on the south side of the State Library
aroom, in the Capitol.

The editor of the Eichmoud Enquirer, who was present when
the alarm was given, writes thus, after iishering in the dreadful
disaster, to his readers :

jL_" Let us collect our ideas as well as we can. On Thursday
night a new play and a new after-piece were played, for the
benefit of Mr. Placide. Crowds swarmed to the Theatre ; it was
the fullest house this season ; there were not less than six hun-
dred present. The play went off ; the pantomime began ; the first
Act was over ; the whole scene was before us, and all around us
was mirth aud festivity. Oh God ! what a horrible revolution ;
the second act of the pantomime ; the curtain rose again in full
chorus, and Mr. West came ou to open the scene, when sparks of
fire began to fall on the back part of the stage, and Mr. Robert-
son came out in unutterable distress, waved his hand to the ceil-
ing, and uttered these appalling words: 'The house is on fire.'
His hand was immediately stretched forth to the persons in the
stage-box to help them on the stage. The cry of 'Fire, fire' passed
with electric velocity through the house ; every one flew from
their seats to gain the lobbies aud stairs. The scene baffles all de-
scription. The most heart-piercing cries pervaded the house.
'Save me, save me.' Wives asking for their husbands; females
and children shrieking, while the gathering element came roUing
on its curling flames and columns of smoke, threatning to devour
every human being in the building. Many were trod under foot ;
several were thrown back from the windows, which they were
struggling to leap. The stair- ways were immediately blocked up ;
the throng was so great that many were raised several feet over the
.heads of the rest; the smoke thi-eateued an instant suffocation. We
cannot dwell on this picture. We saw — we felt it — like others, we
gave ourselves up for lost ; we cannot depict it. Many leaped from
■the windows of the first story, and were saved ; children and
females, and men of all descriptions were seen to i^recipitate
themselves on the ground below, with broken legs and thighs,

Monumental Church. 3

borders. On the succeeding da}- the Common Coun-
cil of the city of Kichmond adopted an ordinance in

and hideous contusions. Most, if not all. •who were in the pit
escaped. Mr. Taylor, the last of the musicians who quitted the
ochestra, finding his retreat by the back v/ay cut off, leaped into
the pit, whence he entered the semicircular avenue which leads to
the door of the Theatre, and found it nearly empty. He was the
last to escape from the pit. How melancholy that many who
were in the boxes did not also jump into the pit, and fly in the
same direction. But those who were in the boxes, above and be-
low, pushed for the lobbies — many, as has been said, escaped
through the windows ; but most of them had no other resource
than to descend the stairs ; manj^ escaped in that way, but so
great was the pressure that they retarded each other, until the
devouring element approached to sweefj them into eternity.
Several who even emerged from the building were so much
scorched that they have since perished ; some even jumped from
the second windows ; some others have been dreadfully burnt." <+^

(1879, November, while I am copying this dreadful disaster from
an extract of the Richmond Enquirer of the 27th December,
1811, and also a jsart from the Intelligencer Extra, dated at Pe-
tersburg, Saturday, 28th December, 1811, I am reminded that it
was understood that the present Mrs. B. W. Leigh, now of New
York, who was Miss Julia Wickham, of Eichmond, was dragged
by her hair out of the Theatre on that fatal night, and her life
thus saved ; and I will also here state the fact that the grand-
father of our present distinguished physician, James B. McCaw,
saved the lives of many by throwing them out of the window,
and when the flames forced him to leap, he broke his leg, and was
ever lame after it. He was a man of wonderful energy and
powerful nerve, as well as a great surgeon, and pure Christian,
and continued a practitioner of medicine in Richmond to a ripe
old age, leaving two sons of like character in the profession ; and
what a privilege to be the son or grand-son of so noble a man as
Dr. James D. McCaw !)

The fire flew with a rapidity almost beyond example. Within
ten minutes after it caught the whole house was wrapjied
in flames. The colored people in the gallery, most of them,

4 History of the

these words, (the same having been reported by Dr.
John Adams) :

escaped through the stairs cut oif from the rest of the
house ; some have no doubt fallen victims. The pit and
boxes had but one common avenue, through which the whole
crowd escaped, save those who leaped from the windows. But the
scene which ensued it is impossible to paint. Women with dis-
hevelled hair ; fathers and mothers shrieking out for their chil-
dren ; husbands for their wives ; brothers for their sisters, filled
the whole area on the outside of the building. A few who had
escaped plunged again into the flames to save some dear object of
their regard, and they perished. The Governor perhaps shared
this melancholly fate. Others were frantic, and would have
rushed to destruction but for the hand of a friend. The bells
tolled ; almost the whole town rushed to the fatal spot. The
flames must have caught the scenery from some light behind,
Robertson saw it when it was no larger than his hand ; Young saw
it on the roof when it first burst through. Every article of the

Online LibraryGeorge D FisherHistory and reminiscences of the Monumental church, Richmond, Va., from 1814 to 1878 → online text (page 1 of 34)