John Collins Warren.

Genealogy of Warren, with some historical sketches online

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offered money to his men but he would not permit them to receive any
I thanked him very kindly for his help in our great danger and said to
him, John ye have been a means under God to save our natural life
suffer me, under God, to be a means to save your soul, bv good informa-
tion to bring you out of your dangerous errors. He replied, George,
save thy own soul, I have no need of thy help ; then said I, I will
pray for your conversion ; he replied, the prayers of the wicked are an
abomination. So uncharitable was he in his opinion concerning me, as
they generally are concerning all who differ from them."

■T)'mi(i/ Church, Oxford, Philadelphia. 285

More than once on this journey he made an n]^roar in
Quaker meetings by rising and denouncing what lie he-
lieved to be their errors. Such l)eliavior couhl lu t liavo
added to his influence, probably increased tlie bitternetin
with wliicli lie was regarded by many of his old friends,
and did lasting injury to the reputation of a remarkable
man, who did his duty as he saw it, and who acconijilisherl
important results in spite of his want of 8aa\'ity and tact.
He lived till 1710. I have only to add that Proud's state-
ment, that on liis death-bed he regretted that he had loft
the Quakers, is unsupported by authority and seen)s out of
keeping with his strong and courageous character.

But to return to this parish. Dr. Buchanan thinks that
the first binlding was of logs. Mr. Evans, of Christ Church,
and his assistant, ^[r. Thomas, othciated here as tliey li;i<l
time, and Mr. Andrew Rudman, minister of the Swedish
Church of Gloria Dei, was the first person regularly
employed here. ^Missionaries of the Swedish Lutlieran
Church often officiated in the Anglican churches of the
Province without English orders, and were recognized ar.d
remunerated by the Venerable Society in England. In
1711 was built the oldest part of the present church edi-
fice, — it would seem about thirty-six feet of the west end
of the nave. According to Accrelius (" History of Xew
Sweden," English translation, 1874), Messrs. Bjork and
Sandel, Swedish missionaries, took part with the English
clergy, at the opening ser\'ice3 in 1713. These, because
there was no Bishop, had to take the place of a consecra-
tion ; and for the same reason no church in colonial days
received regtilar consecration. It is worthy of remark that
when Christ Church was rebtiilding, in 1711, the Presby-
terian Church in Philadelphia was ottered to the congrega-
tion for some Sundays ; btit the offer was decHned, the
congregation preferring to ask for the use of Gloria Dei
Church, which was granted to them for the desired number
of Sundays. Afterwards, in 1794, when another Lutheran
chtirch was destroyed by fire, the vestry of Christ Church

286 Triniij Churrh, Oxford, Fhihuklphui.

oflerfd their hinUling to tlie unfortiinato congregation at
such hours on Sundays as could conveniently be arranged.

^^^. Evans, the minister of Christ Church, went back to
England lor a time, in 1707; Mr. Rudman took liis place,
and the Eeverend John Clul>b jnaster of the school connected
with Christ Church, who had already often officiated, "in
pity to our forlorn condition, did piously take upon him
the care of our poor church.'" So wrote the vestry of this
church on March 5, 3709, to the Venerable Society, and
they begged for the appointment of Mr. Clubb as their
regular missionary. He seems to have been beloved by
his people, and among all his successors there seems to
have been not one really unworthy man. Few colonial
clmrches, I believe, could say so much. There was no
American bishop until after the Revolution, at least no one
wlio performed episcopal acts. The Bishop of London,
wdio at first assumed the right to license clergymen for
America, — which right was afterwards confirmed by the
King in Council, — was sometimes deceived by clerical ad-
venturers who were leaving their country for their coun-
try's good, lie, more excusably, made mistakes about
certain colonials who went back for orders, but who were
morally unfit for the calling. Many promising pei-sons
who would have taken orders were deterred by the great
expense involved in the journey to England and by the
perils of the sea, at the present day so little considered.
Down to 1767. fifty-two young men had sailed from Amer-
ica to be ordained in England, and forty-two returned in
safety. It is noticeable that in 1702 Keith came here in a
ship-of-war and returned in another in 1704. During the
long wars of the Spanish Succession, the Austrian Succes-
sion, and the Seven Years' ^Var the most peaceful travel-
lers had to fear the violence of enemies, both on men-of-war
and on privateers.

The good Mr. Clubb seems to have been here for the last
three or four yeai^ before the church was rebuilt. In 1711
an address of the clergy of I^ennsylvania stated that liis

Trinif}/ Church, Oxford, P/.Maddphia. og;

salary from the parish did not exceed £S0, ont of wliich lie
had to pay £14 rent for his house. The Society wa.-?
begged to make him the usual stipend of £G0: but the
Society preferred to send liim to Delaware, wlierc he
stayed a short time. Then he went back to En^-laud and
missed the dedication services of the new church. It was
probably for the new building tliat the silver chalice was
sent by Queen Anne. On October 6, 1714, Mr. Clubb
announced his safe return to Philadelphia after a voyage of
thirteen weeks and his gratification at his appointment to
the combined missions of Oxford and Radnor. At Radnor
he was able to preach in AVelsh, as Mr. Evans ha<l dune.
;Mr. Humphreys, sometime missionary at Chester, had hud
temporary charge of Oxford before Mr. Clubb 's ap})oint-
ment. On October 12 he wrote to the Society, —

"From a tender and aflectionate regard to the welfare of the Church
at Oxford, v.-hich shallnever leave me, though I am removed from it, 1
must necessarily take notice ... of one thing which I am afraid as ill
unravel much of the pains taken at that place, which is the ol)ligati<)n
upon Sir. Clubb to divide his labors between the Welsh and the C«jn^-re-
gation at Oxford Church. Among the latter there has always been a
great number of Quakers and Anabaptists but they are well enough
secured against these pests. The danger I am apprehensive of arise.s
from the late intrusion of a dissenting Presbyterian Teacher who came
into those parts last year, from Wales, and bought a settlement about two
miles from the Church. He preaches every Sunday at his own house
and is very industrious to prevail with his neighbors to hear him, and
many people there are so ;lisposed to variety of doctrine that all the
diligence I could exert in warning my people against the schism, ami
preaching every Sunday in my Church, could not prevent but that some
weak people would follow him, especially if they had the prettnce of
bad weather to palliate their staying from Church ; and G<>d knows
what the consequence will be of Mr. Clubb's preaching to the "Wt-lsh
two Sundays in a month."

But poor Clubb died about Christmas, 1715. His parish-
ioners wrote to the Society that "the ijreat fati^-^ie of ridiuir
between the two churches in such dismal ways and weather
as we generally have for four months in the winter, soon
put a period to his life." The dLstance is twenty niiles.

288 Triniti' Church, Oxford, Philadelphia.

After his death Mr. Ilumplireys again took charge of Ox-
ford, going periodically from Chester. On August 14,
171G, he complained to the Society that Mr. Evans was
sta\-ing away, and that there were only two missionaries of
the Society in th.e Province, " so that if we did not painfully
exert ourselves beyond our proper mission we should soon
see this Church in the wilderness, overrun with heresy and
schism." But Mr. Evans soon came back, and while he
remained in Pennsylvania — about two years — he added the
care of Oxford and of Padnor to Philadelphia. The testi-
mony that he was a good and zealous man is abundant.
Poor Mr. Humphreys was overworked and perhaps unrea-
sonable in begrudging his brother missionary a little relaxa-
tion. In October, 1718, Mr. Humphreys wrote from Ches-
ter that he was the only missionary in the Province, and
that it was liis habit to preach at Padnor, twenty miles
away, and at Oxford, twenty-eight miles away from his
home, on alternate Thursdays, and that for these services
he neither received nor expected compensation.

Ever since Mr. Clubb's death the wardens and vestrymen
of Oxford had been begging the Society to send them a
regular missionary. In 1716 they wrote that they had
about twenty families, and hoped to raise £20 a year and to
provide a house and form for the missionary. On June
25, 1718, Peter Tiiylor and James Morgan, church war-
dens, wrote, —

" We know the great want of a good minister "by sad experience par-
ticularly in our great loss in the decease of our late godly minister, the
Kevd. Mr. John Clubb who was entirely beloved by this congregation.
. . . But since his departure many of his congregation have drawn
back, and are strayed away like sheep having no shepherd, some to
Quakers, some to Anabaptists, some to the Presbyterians and some to
the profane Sabbatarians, to the great grief of U5 that have an entire
love and a great regard for the prosperity of the Protestant religion of
the Church of England as by law established. . . . We humbly let their
Honors know after this manner we, having no minister on a Sunday,
except by chance, agree among ourselves to meet at the House of God
every Sunday, where one Nathaniel Walton, our School Master . . .

Ti-inU.y Church, Oxford, Pldlnddphui. 289

XixVes due pains every Lord's Day to read unto us the /loly vScriptuu^ as
they are appointed to be read, also the Prayers and Frialnis in tlicir ord(>r
and course, and a Homily or Sermon he reads every Sunday. ..."

I luive nowbere liesilated to quote tlie aeriiiioiiious lan-
guage used by the early cliurcli peo})le about tlicir Quaker
and other dissenting neighbors. This is a humble attempt
to write a fragment of history, and it is as important to
knovr how men felt and talked about one another as to know
what they did. There can be no doubt that the Episcopa-
lians, as a class, heartily disliked the Quakers as a class,
])artly because their fathers and grandfathers had persecuted
the fathers and grandfathers of the Quakers, and partly fjr
the political ideas and practices of the Quakers. I remem-
ber, as a child, spelling out one of the very early inscrii>-
tions in the church-yard, — an inscription which has become
almost illegible, but is preserved in Dr. Buchanan's book.
It begins, —

" Here by these lines is testified
No Quaker was she when she died ;
So far was she from Quakerism
That she desired to have baptism."

"We do not now call those who difter from us in. religion,
pests; I hope we have become more charitable, not less
zealous for the truth.

At last, in 1719, the Reverend Robert We^Tuan was sent
here by the Society, and allowed £60 a year. I hope the
people gave him the £20 they talked about, but they com-
plained of poverty and of debts incurred in the building,
still unpaid. However, in 1724, they did buy a house,
orchard, and sixty-three acres of land, for £130, on what is
now called the Bristol Turnpike, about half-way between
ITolmesburg and Frankford. Mr. We}nnan for some years
served also the church at Radnor, and extended his mission
work as far as the present town of Lancaster, but later the
people at Radnor secured a missionary who could preach to
them in Welsh, or " in their own British dialect," as Mr.

VOL. XXVII. — 19

290 . Trinity Church, Oxford, Phihiddphia.

Weyman expressed it. Mr. T\''eyman proposed to serve Hie
mission at ^Vliite Marsh in place of Radnor, White Mar.^h
being at less than half tlie distance from Oxford. Li 1728
he was in London, and wrote to the Society that among
other diflieulties of the English Chnreh in Pennsylvania
was this, — that while she had three missionaries there, the
Quakers had two or three hundred speakers or teachers.

In 1731 Mr. "\Ve\nnan removed to Burlington, and at that
time the Reverend Alexander IIo^vie was missionary at
White Marsh. In 1733 ^Ir. Ilowie was commissioned to
care for White Marsh and Oxford combined. In 1734 he
reported to the Society :

"The Cougregation at Oxford increases so much that there is not
room in the church to hold them . . . they design soon to raise a
gallery or to enlarge the outward building ... in these % of a year
past I have gained over to the Church of England 2 Romans, 3 Inde-
pendents, 4 Quakers and 3 Anabaptists. . . . But though religion flour-
ishes in Oxford, yet I am very sorrj' to observe that it greatly decays in
White Marsh. The number of sincere Church people does not exceed
seven at most."

On July 21, 1739, Mr. Ilov/ie wrote despondently about
Oxford also, that those who professed themselves of the
Church did not exceed thirty in number, and that he had
given up Wliite Marsh. On September 29, 1741, he
wrote a very gloomy letter:

"My income last year from Oxford was £16 10. 6. paper money . . .
Number of heads of families in Oxford is about 49 . . . those who
are really of the Church of England do not at present exceed 25 in

He attributed much of the decay of the parish to the
"mischievous doctrines and irregular conduct of that malig-
nant preacher Mr. Whiteiield."

"The parsonage lands and house belonging to Oxford are in ruinous
condition ... so that I have no more benefit from 60 acres of land
than if I had none. All that can be said is that I and my family live,
rent free, at the hazard of our lives, for the house will neither keep out
wet or cold, which last is very extreme in the winter."

Trimty Church, Oxford, r'tolaildi'hia. '2{*\

Dr. Buchanan tells us tliat Mr. Howie went to the West
Indies expecting to return, but he remained there.

The Keverend yEneas Ross, who had been an a.-.-ir-tiiiit at
Christ Church, became the missionary to (.)xlbrd and Wintv
Marsh in 1743. In 1744 he wrote to the Society that h.'
was living in Abington : that both churches were in a ^w-vk-
flourishing state than they had been, and were generally
crowded on Sundays. Li 1745 he wrote, —

"I am now in great hopes tliat the rising generation will sho^v tlion;-
sclves as pious members of the Church as their fathers were. Tlu- clii. f
of the old standers at Oxford are dead, and there apjjcars in rnnnv <.f
the chiklren a great share of devotion, and, ple.-ise God I live, I ixj.^ci
to see as tlourishing a church a- they were 25 ytans ago."

lie said he expected to live at Germantown, which would
be only five miles from Oxford and six miles tVorii<-
Marsh, whereas the Oxford Glebe was thirteen miles U\n\\
"White ^larsh.

"The inhabitants of Germantown are Dutch ^ave two or three !":i!iii-
lies of English ... it lies 6 mile-s Northwest of Philadelphia, a pl.ico
of considerable inland trade situated about 3 miles from navigable wu'.tr
for small craft called the River Schuylkill."

In 1749 he had given up Germantown, and, to savi
money, was living at the glebe, in spite of its great distaiu e
from White !Marsh.

The Reverend Hugh Xeill was the next missionary in
charge. Iii 1759 pews were put up all over the ohur.l!,
and it was floored for the first time. On May 12, 17C0.
he wrote to the Society that he was much encouraged, that
both churches were crowded, and that he had been a.-kcd to
preach on Sunday evenings at Germantown. He wa.- then
living there, for the glebe house had lately been destroyeil
by fire.

"The Governor and citizens of Philadelphia were so sensible «f the
misery my family was reduced to by fire that they su])scribed the f\un
of £255 towards rebuilding the Glebe house . . . The congrc-ati^.-n
considering the inconvenient situation of the Glebe . . . joined na- in

292 Trwitj C/unrh, Oxford, Philadelphia.

a petition to the Assembly for leave to bring in a bill to sell the old
Glebe and purchase a new one, more convenient. ..."

The old glebe was sold for £252, and a new glebe, of
eixty-five acres, where stands the present \nllage of Cedar
Grove, was bought in 17G1 for £540. On January 10,
1762, he wrote, —

"As onr Church of Oxford was too small ... we set on foot a
lottery last Spring for enlarging of it and other uses about the Church."
He hoped " We shall be able to clear for the uses aforesaid between 400
and 500. Thus I hope by the a.ssistance of Divine Providence, not-
withstanding the number of dissenters among us we shall continue
steady and united as we are at present."

But the church was not enlarged for more than twenty
years; the lottery was a failure. On October 18, 1764,
he wrote, —

"I have the pleasure to acquaint the Society that my congregations
appear to be more steady than formerly and better fixed in their princi-
ples, notwithstanding the powerful elTorts that Mr. "Whitefleld is now
making in Philadelphia . . . St. Paul's the College and Presbyterian
Meeting Houses were open to him ; but the salutary admonitions of
His Grace of Canterbury to the Rector etc. of Christ Church and St.
Peter's has prevented his preaching at this time, in either of them."

Yet on December 14, 1765, he announced that he had
decided to ofllciate occasionally at St. Paul's, and in 1766
he removed to Maryland, which the poor missionaries in
Pennsylvania seemed to regard as a haven of rest.

I can refer only briefly to the clerical ser\ace3 to this
parish of the Reverend Dr. William Smith, from 1706 to
1777, when he was obliged to leave Philadelphia on the
approach of the British troops. He was by far the most
distinguished man who officiated here, perhaps the most
distinguished Episcopal clergyman in America during the
eighteenth century. His name is probably known to you
all. lie made a great success as Provost of the College of
Philadelphia, which, according to the late Dr. Stille, was in
many respects quite the equal of Harvard and Yale at the

Tnniiy Church, Oxford, PJdlaJdplda. 293

riine of the abrogation of its charter bv President IJced, in
1779. Dr. Smith seems to have taken charge of Oxford as
a labor of love, to have received no stipend from tlie Mis-
sionary Society, and even to have remitted some of tlio
revenue from the glebe. lie informed the Society that ho
was performing these ser\-ices to prevent a forfeiture of tlie
new glebe lands under the terms of the Act of AssemV>lv.
lie was enlightened enough to perceive the evil of the lot-
tery scheme, though such schemes were a jnatter of course
in those days. The people at first seemed well satisfied;
they put a new roof on tlie church in 1770, and in 177"2,
under Dr. Smith's auspices, was started the new church
which became All Saints, Lower Dublin. But he was a
man of very positive character, probably made more posi-
tive by the exercise of the duties of a college presidency,
and by 1771 many of the congregation were asking the
Society for the appointment of anybody else, and complain-
ing that people were staying away from church because
Smith was offensive to them. But the services of the Ven-
erable Society to the Church in America were nearly at an
end. Ko 0]ie else was ever appointed to Oxford. In 1701
the Society had found the Colonies, exclusive of Virginia
and Maryland, with five Anglican churches. When the
war broke out it retired, leaNing two hundred and fifty

And 80 this sketch must be finished without any more of
the letters and reports to the Society, — letters which have
eeemed to me very interesting and human. Dr. Buchanan
tells us that the Church records are scanty and fragmentary ;
a search for more would seem futile. We do not know
what happened during the Revolutionary War, or in pre-
cisely what year the nave was extended to its present dimen-
sions; only that it was between 1786 and 1789. Another
Dr. William Smith, not related to the provost, was rector in
1785. He was succeeded in 1786 by the Reverend .Joseph
Pilmore. In that year this church, All Saints, Lower Dub-
lin, and St. Thomas's, White Marsh, were admitted to the

294 TdniUi Church, Oxford, PhUadelpldn.

convention. Tliey were made one corporation l)y an Act
of Assembly of 1787. For from some time before this tlie
connection between Oxford and AVliite Marsh was merely

In 1798 tlielxcverend John IT. Hobart, afterwards Bishop
of Xew York, became the minister of Oxford and of All
Saints for about a year. Then, after three years, the Rever- .
end Charles Cotton officiated for a year or two. Then there
was anotlier vacancy of live years, services being sometimes
supplied by the Eeverend Dr. Abercrombie, long assistant at
St. Peter's. In 1807 the west door was opened. In 1809
V the Reverend James Wiltbank became rector of the united
churches of Oxford and Lower Dubhn. In 1813 part of
the glebe was sold for 84000, and in 1838 the rest of it was
sold for ?3000. I presume the money was spent on the
transepts which were built in 1833. The original tower was
built by members of the Swift family in 1839, the tower as
it is now by Mrs. John Lardner in 1875. The present rec-
tory was built in 1856, the chapel at Crescentville in 1870,
and the building in which you sit in 1883.

So much for the buildings. Mr. Wiltbank was succeeded
in 181G by the Reverend George Sheets. All Saints, Trinity,
Oxford, and St. Thomas's, White Marsh, were made se[»a-
rate corporations by an Act of Assembly of March 21, 1835.
The Reverend F. W. Beasley was made rector of All Saints.
Mr. Sheets continued rector of Oxford till 1854, when the
Reverend Edward Y. Buchanan, D.D., was elected rector.
He served till 1882, and there I end. He was well known
to many of you, and it would be impossible for me to do
justice to his character or to his services in these closing
■words. During his rectorship his brother was elected Presi-
dent of the United States, the Civil War was begun and
ended, reconstruction was carried out. In those days politi-
cal excitement caused many bitter feelings and strained
many old friendships, but I never heard of an unkind word
being spoken by Dr. Buchanan or about him. The parish
was harmonious, prosperous, and liberal ; twenty-five years

Trbnty Church, Oxford, FhihukJpiJa. 295

ago scarcely any parish in the diocese gave so much to

Ami, as Dr. Buchanan lias said, the parisli had heen Ioul'
a mother of churches, and in her progeny are to be reckoned
All Saints, Lower Dublin; St. Luke's, Germantown ; Kni-
mauuel, Ilolmesburg; St. Mark's, Frankford; The Church
of Our Saviour, Jenkintown. Of course, I do not mean to
say that these churches were built by this parish, but they
may be called spiritual otishoots in ground that had been
prepared by the clergy of this parish. So perhaps I may
be allowed to say it has deserved well of those of its com-
munion. Some of the daughter churches seem now stronger
than the mother; the time may come when they niay liave
to help her. The one thing to be regretted in this story, as
I have tried to tell it, is, that in days of greater prosperity
larger provision was not made for the permanent endow-
ment of a place with such associations, where so many
generations of good men have worshipped God and now
lie in its quiet church-yard. An endowment fund has been
begun; all who desire the preservation of this ancient
church either as an historic monument, or as the resting-
place of their ancestors, or as a place where good inspira-
tions may be helped by cherished memories, may do some-
thing to secure these ends.

296 Some Lorc-Ldtcrs of William Fc/ui.


[Selected from the Peun-Forbes Collection of Manuscripts, presented
to the Historical Society of Fennsylvauia by William Brooke Kawle.]

IQth 7mo 95 —

Most Deare IT. C.

My best love embraces thee vr^^ springs from y* fountaiue
of Love & life, ^^'*^ Time, Distance nor Disapoiutm'^ can
ever ware out, nor y* floods of many & great Waters ever
Quench. Here it is dearest II — yt I behold, love, and
valine thee, and desire, above all other Considerations, to
be kno^Mi, received & esteemed by thee. And Lett me
Say, that the loveliness yt the tendring & blessed Truth
hath beutified thee with, hath made thee amiable in my
eyes, above many, & for yt it is my heart, from the very
first, has cleaved to thee. Did I say above many, ay, above
all, & yt is ni}^ confidence in this thing at all times, to my
Selfe and others, o let us meet here, most Dear II ! tlie

Online LibraryJohn Collins WarrenGenealogy of Warren, with some historical sketches → online text (page 22 of 39)