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Prepared by
The Alabama Historical Records Survey Project
Division of Professional and Service Projects
Work Projects Administration
* * * * *
Birmingham, Alabama
The Alabama Historical Records Survey Project
November 1939

 r I I Y@§§
The Historical Records Survey Program
Luther H. Evans, Director
Dan Lacy, Regional Supervisor
James E. Rice, State Supervisor
Division of Professional and Service Projects
Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner `
Blanche M. Ralston, Chief Regional Supervisor
Mary Weber, State Director
F. C. Harrington, Commissioner
Malcolm J. Miller, Regional Director
U. Gu Henderson, State Administrator

I am delighted to have the privilege of writing a fore-
word to what follows in the pages of this book, in which are
to be found records and statistics of the Church in ;labama,
which will be of vital interest to students of Church History
in the years to come.
I would pay tribute to the wisdom of the Federal Admin-
istration in making available the results of their Historical
Survey, and to the painstaking care and untiring effort of
the Rev. Robert James Wilson, who for many months has dili-
gently searched the records, run down clues and pieced to-
gether in correlated form bits of history he has succeeded
in finding here and there throughout the Diocese of Alabama.
His work has produced not only a record of existing informa-
tion but the addition of many facts, which, save for his un-
tiring research, would have been lost to posterity.
$¤P€TVi$OY It is my earnest hope that the value of this volume
will be recognized, that its readers may be many, and its
merits appreciated.
C. C. J. Carpenter
Bishop of Alabama

The Inventory_gf_thg Church Archivgs_gf_Alabama: Episcopal Divi-
sion is one of a nation-wide series of inventories of the archives of
all denominations now being compiled by the Historical Records Survey
Program. The inventory is fundamentally designed to serve the clergy,
members of religious organizations, students of the social sciences,
and those engaged in genealogical research. Information contained in
this inventory has been largely acquired by personal interview--sup-
plemented by research in printed sources and in church archives. The
Survey has endeavored to check and to confirm the accuracy of the in-
formation presented herein, although from the nature of the undertaking
and despite careful editing, it is realized that certain omissions and
deficiences may yet remain.
The preparation of this inventory has been made in accordance with
regulations and procedures applicable to WPA Projects in the forty—eight
states and the District of Columbia. In accordance with editorial pro-
· cedure indicated by the National Office the basic data was collected on
printed forms by field workers. After first being checked for accuracy,
the data presented on these forms were carefully analyzed and entries
were prepared by the Church Archives Unit of the Alabama Survey. Mem-
. bers of the Alabama staff who made important contributions to the prepa-
ration of this inventory include Welton Gregory, supervisor of the Church
4E' .“ Archives Unit; Dorothy Spangler and Paul J, Benrimo, editorial supervisors;
5 and the Rev. Robert James Wilson, senior warden of Christ Church, Fair-
* I field, and staff member of the Church Archives Unit. Donald A. Thompson,
Assistant Archivist in the Washington Office of the Historical Records
Survey Program, made detailed comments and criticism of the book.
The Survey takes this opportunity to acknowledge with profound
appreciation the interest in and contributions to the preparation of
this volume by many individuals in Alabama. To the numerous clergyman
of the Protestant Episcopal Church who have offered suggestions and
data; to Bishop C. C. J. Carpenter and Mr. W, M. Spencer, Jr., Registrar
of the Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama; to Miss
Mary Weber, Mr. C. B. Glass, and other officials of the Work Projects
Administration of Alabama who have at all times extended our organization
encouraging cooperation and assistance, the Survey respectfully acknow-
ledges gratitude. Our sincerest thanks and appreciation are also
expressed to Mrs. Marie Bankhead Owen, Director, Department of Archives
and History of the State of Alabama, the official sponsor of the
Survey in Alabama.
James E. Rice
State Supervisor
The Historical Records Survey
Birmingham, Alabama
September 25, l959

Foreword — The Rt. Rev. C. C. J. Carpenter ........... ii
. Preface ...... . .......... . ........... iii
_ V History of Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama. . . . .... 2
gl, Q Maps . ........ ; ............ 4 ....... I2
I Protestant Episcopal Church ................... l5
1 Additional Defunct Missions. . . . . ..... . ........ Ql
l Bibliography . . ......... . .............. 94
V Alphabetical Index ...... . . . . ; ............ 95
Chronological Index ............ . . ...... . . . 99
Geographical Index ....................... IOS

 . -2-
In 1763 France ceded Mobile to England by treaty.l However, for the
ensuing seventeen years of British possession,the dominant culture of
the settlement continued French and Roman Catholic. Thus, between l765
l and l780, Mobile radiated a Latin atmosphere which resulted from racial
qualities of the early residents, many of whom were French.
_ During this early period of British rule an individual professing
to be a clergyman of the Church of England took up his abode in Mobile.
According to certain chroniclers, this man occasionally held public
worship. But he reputedly led an ungodly life, and the people of Mobile
questioned his ordination, of which he produced no proof.2 In l764 the
Rev.Samuel Hart, an Anglican clergyman from Charleston, South Carolina
began conducting services in Mobile and its vicinity. It was an era
when morality was at low ebb. Dissipation and debauchery were common
among the townspeople and among the soldiers. After a period of about
` ` one year Mr. Hart, discouraged by the spiritual prospects in the strug-
gling British colony, returned to Charleston. The work accomplished in
the year which Mr. Hart passed in Mobile, however, represented the
initial step in establishing the future Protestant Episcopal Church in
i·= a region which eventually became the State of Alabama.5 The only other
Anglican services during the remainder of that period were those held by
the English chaplain in Fort Charlotte, then the center and principal
fortification of the town of Mobile.
During the thirty—three years from l78O to l8l5 when Mobile was
under Spanish control, no public religious services other than those of
the Roman Catholic Church were permitted.4 In l8l2, the so—called Mobile
v District, which embraced the city of Mobile and surrounding territory
between the Pearl and Perdido Rivers, south of the BIO latitude, was
annexed by the United States,5 thereby enlarging the boundaries of the
Mississippi Territory, from which was carved in l8l7 the Alabama Terri-
tory.6 At the time the Mobile District passed from Spanish to American
control there was already a nucleus of Anglican Churchmen residing in
the city of Mobile.
Owing to popular prejudice against institutions of British origin,
the development of the Church immediately following this period of con-
flict and annexation by the United States was considerably handicapped.
However, notwithstanding the fact that many of these early Churchmen
became discouraged and united with other denominations, a few families
of Anglican antecedents periodically assembled and held lay services.
These services were supplemented at long intervals by visiting clergymen.
l. Peter J. Hamilton, Colonial Birmingham, l89B, p. l2
Mobile, Cambridge, lQlO, p. 22l. 5. Ibid., p. lZ.
2. Walter C. Whitaker,_History of 4. Ipid., p. I4.
phe Protestant Episcopal Church 5. 2Q;._§._Stg;y;es_at Large 734.
_in_Alabama, l76$—lS9l, 6. l_E._S. Statutes ap large 5éQ.

Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama
It was this small group of Anglicans of early Mobile that soon grew
into the nucleus of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama.
_ By 1820 nascent congregations were already found in Mobile, Tusca-
loosa, Greensboro, Montgomery, Demopolis, Huntsville and other places
within the state. Of these early congregations three in particular
merit attention. These three parishes--namely, Christ Church, Mobile;
Christ Church, Tuscaloosa; and St. Paul's, Greensboro--were formed
prior to the organization of the Diocese of Alabama in 1850; they
all have claims to distinction quite apart from their age.
Early in 1822, a church building was erected just outside the
gates of Fort Charlotte at Mobile, where a congregation was organized
after the order of the established non-Romanist Church of England.6
Members of all Protestant denominations worshiped in this structure.
This arrangement, which, in reality, represented a sort of union of
Protestant congregations in Mobile, was altered in 1825 when the Epis-
copalians organized separately and formed Christ Church. Until the
. arrival of the Rev. Henry A. Shaw, an Episcopal minister, in December
: - l827, services were conducted for this congregation by the Rev. Murdock
y . . Murphy, a Presbyterian minister.7 Three years later, when the Diocese
». of Alabama was organized, Christ Church was admitted as a parish.
In connection with the second oldest Protestant Episcopal congre-
gation in Alabama, the Rev. Robert Davis of New York was sent to Tusca-
‘ loosa in 1827 in the interest of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary
Society of the Church. Tuscaloosa, then a village of only about five
hundred inhabitants, was the seat of the University of Alabama, and
had recently been made the state capital. In this growing town, locat-
ed at the head of navigation on the Warrior River, Mr. Davis ministered
to the Episcopalian families, and, on January 7, 1828, organized Christ
Church. Almost immediately he undertook the erection of a church
building.8 Under his direction a lot was purchased for $150 and $1,700
was subscribed for the construction of a church edifice. Since its
origin this church has experienced continuous growth. Today it has
· some four hundred communicants and owns property valued at approximately
The last of the three Protestant Episcopal Churches to be estab-
lished in Alabama prior to the organization of the Diocese was St.
Paul's at Greensboro. It had its origin on March 14, 1850, when the
Rev. Albert A. Mueller, rector of Christ Church, Tuscaloosa, conducted
services in Greensboro and duly organized a Protestant Episcopal
congregation.9 For seven years services were conducted in the homes
6. Whitaker, gp. git., p. 18. 1921, 4 vols., vol. I, p.
7. Thomas M. Owen, History gf 555.
Algbgmg_gnd Dictionary_gf ‘ 8. Whitaker, gp, pip., p. 18.
Alabama Biography, Chicago, 9. Ibid., p. 22.

Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama
of members. In December ISB7 the Rev. John R. Goodman arrived in Greens-
boro and shortly thereafter instituted steps toward erection of a church
building, which was completed in 1840.
The visit of the Rt, Rev. Thomas C. Brownell, Bishop of Connecticut,
afforded an important impetus to the development of the Protestant Epis-
copal Church in Alabama.
Bishop Brownell had been requested by the Domestic and Foreign Mis-
sionary Society of the Church to visit all the southern states not organ-
ized into Dioceses. On the occasion of his visit to Mobile, the Primary
_ Convention of the Diocese of Alabama was held. This meeting took place
in Christ Church on January 25, l85O.lO The organization of the Alabama
Diocese represented a step of fundamental progress in the development of
the Protestant Episcopal Church in the state, although further develop-
ment during the ensuing fourteen years was fraught with many obstacles.
In IBB2 the General Board of Missions sent the Rev. Caleb S. Ives
to Alabama. It was a period of intensive missionary work. During this
time at least twelve parishes, which are prosperous and thriving today,
had their inception. These included churches located in several of the
· larger cities of the state: Mobile, Huntsville, Montgomery, Demopolis,
Florence, Livingston, and Jacksonville.ll
The movement to elect a bishop was actively pursued during the
decade of the l850’s; but, largely because of prevailing economic con-
ditions, the Alabama Diocese did not elect a bishop until l844,l2 when
the Rev. Nicholas Hamner Cobbs was elected and consecrated to that of-
fice, October 20, l844, in Philadelphia.
Although Alabama had been admitted to the General Convention in
l852 as a Diocese, at that time the state was still a missionary ter-
ritory. There were only eight clergy in Alabama; six of these were out-
. side of Mobile. The total number of communicants, white and black, was
around five hundred. The Diocese was weak financially as well as numeric-
` ally. Bishop Cobbs accepted the appointment at a salary of $l,5OO a
_ year, with traveling expenses.l5 Instead of concentrating his efforts
only on those places where the Church was already established, the Bishop
sought to plant the Church throughout Alabama. He labored untiringly and
succeeded in infusing new life into the resident clergy.
It was an era when missionary endeavors were not easily achieved.
The inaccessibility of the many parishes by reason of geographical
obstacles, the theological disputes and migratory disposition of the
clergy, were some of the factors which appeared, outwardly, to retard
· progress. But throughout this period Bishop Cobbs worked indefati—
gably, believing fully in the victory of the future.
lO. [gupnal_gf_phg Diocese_pf l2. Whitaker, pp. pip., p.
Algpamg, l850, Mobile, p. 45. E9.
ll. Whitaker, pp. git., p. 26. l5. Ipig., p. 5l.

 Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama
With immigration to the state mounting rapidly, the latter part of
the decade of the lS40's witnessed a marked increase in the communicant
. roll.l4
The Bishop made his itineraries regularly, covering all sections of
the state, preaching, confirming, and consecrating new church buildings.
This was a period of material development for the Church. In this decade
’ at least eighteen or twenty congregations built substantial clurch struc-
tures.l5 Several of these congregations have persisted through the years,
while others for good reasons have disbanded or united with neighboring
Protestant Episcopal congregations. Along with physical growth, there
. was corresponding congregational growth, particularly in the older church-
es at Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Greensboro, and Montgomery. The
. smaller parishes experienced remarkable progress, vmich in many instances
proved to be lasting. Also, the leaders of the Church were not oblivious
to the needs of Negro members, allotting special pews for their use in
. attending public worship, or, in some instances, building separate chapels
for them.
During this period of physical and congregational growth, many far-
- reaching results were achieved. The Episcopate was endowed; the Diocesan
¤ Missionary Society, first organized in l844, was revived and did much to
support both foreign and home missions; and the "Society for the Relief
-` of Disabled Clergy and the Widows and Orphans of Deceased Clergy", estab-
lished in 1846 was reorganized and endowed for the much—needed work that
lay before it.i6
Another notable undertaking of the Church in this era was the estab-
lishment of schools. In 1845 Bishop Cobbs persuaded the Rev. Aristides
I S. Smith, a friend from Virginia, to establish a school for girls in
Tuscaloosa, and at the convention of 1846 a board of trustees was ap-
pointed. After two years Mr. Smith moved away from Alabama and no ef-
fort was made to keep the school open. The Bishop then endeavored to
establish a school for boys, and in 1849 the "Classical Institute and
Mission School" for boys and young men was opened in Tuscaloosa. In
1850 the project for a Diocesan school for girls was revived; however,
this venture did not succeed.l7
Much credit is due to the men who composed the clergy during these
years. Some were natives of Alabama; others came from neighboring states.
They all ranked among the ablest and strongest in the Church. Many be-
came bishops and were moved to other fields of activity. Their theology
was dependable; their parish work, thorough. Host of them conducted free
parochial schools for the children; and all, by canonical requirements,
ordered the lives of their parishioners after strict religious observances.
14. Whitaker,_gp. pgp., p. 16. Whitaker, pp, pip., pp.
65. 99-100.
. 15. Ibid., p. 71. 17. Ibid., pp. 105-106.

Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama
In 1856 the life and work of A1abama's first Bishop was fast coming
to a close. His health was noticeably broken. Given a few months' rest,
he made a trip to England. On his return he threw himself ardently into
the work of establishing in the South a university especially for Church-
men, with the collaboration of Bishop Leonidas Polk of Tennessee.l8 Be-
cause of a depression which began in 1857 this prcject was dropped tempo-
rarily. As the Bishop grew weaker, and less able to lzbor as in former
years, he continued to attend faithfully to his duties, and to make his
regular visitations until his death occurred on January 11, 1861.lg
Bishop Cobbs had publicly made the statement that he hoped he would
not live to see the day when the State of Alabama would cease to be a
part of the United States. Within a few hours after his death Alabama
formally seceded from the Union.2O
Upon.Alabama's secession from the Union the Diocesan Convention meti
at Montgomery in May 1861. The first matter to be settled was the ques-
tion of the secession of the Church in Alabama from the Church in the
United States. This secession was voted overwhelmingly and the program
of the Church in Alabama was reorganized.2l The next important matter
was the election of a bishop. After many attempts to agree upon a suit-
able man, the clergy and laity agreed to defer the election to a future
date. At a meeting of the Convention in Selma, November 21, 1861, the
Rev. Richard Hooker Wilmer of Virginia was elected Bishop. He accepted,
was consecrated at St. Pau1's Church, Richmond Va., March 6, 1862, and
entered upon his work in Alabama immediate1y.2é
The new Bishop did everything in his power to foster and protect the
churches. The number of communicants was greatly increased and the work
of the Church continued uninterruptedly. The Civil War opened a new field
of beneficience for the Church, in the care of those who were widowed or
orphaned. Many of the individual parishes undertook this work, and in 1864
the churches of the Diocese united their efforts to establish a Home for
Orphans in Tusca1oosa.25
During the Civil War the bishops of the Southern Dioceses severed,
at their first meeting, their connection with the National Convention,
and instituted their own Convention. The first meeting of this Confed-
erate Convention was held in Montgomery in July 1861.24 For the Bishop
and for the Church in Alabama this situation-—together with the fact that
Bishop Wilmer had been elected and had entered upon his duties as Bishop
without a majority vote of the House of Bishops and the Standing Com-
mittees of the National Church--was to give rise to additional new
18. Whitaker, pp. pip., pp. 21. Whitaker, pp, gig., p. 155.
142-145. 22. gpii., p. 164.
19. lbid., p. 148. 25. Ibid., p. 168.
BC. Ibid., p. 149. 24. Ibid., p. 171.

Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama
The action of the bishops which created the Protestant Episco-
pal Church in the Confederate States, and the consequent alteration of
the prayer for the President of the United States and officials exer-
cising civil authority provoked no serious controversy until directly
after the end of the Civil War. At this time Bishop Kilmer, though
dissatisfied with the military regime in Alabama, authorized the clergy
and laity of the Diocese to discontinue the use of the prayer in its
altered form: "A prayer for the President of the Confederate States
and all in Civil Authority.“ But Bishop Wilmer further requested that
the prayer in its original form not be used until more concrete mani-
festations of civil authority were restored in the state.E5
However, officers of the military government contended that civil
authority had been restored, and construed the action of Bishop Wilmer
to be disloyal and seditious. Consequently, Major General Charles R.
Hoods, on September 20, 1865, issued General Orders No. 58, forbidding
Bishop Wilmer and the clergy to preach or to perform divine service
until they took the oath of amnesty and resumed the use of the prayer
for the President of the United States and all in civil authority.26
After futile efforts to alleviate the situation through appeals to
the Provisional Governor of Alabama and to the National Council of the
Church, Bishop Wilmer made an appeal to the President of the United
States, contending that the action of the military government in Ala-
bama was directly opposed to the Constitution of the United States.
As a result of this appeal, General Orders No. B8 were rescinded by
General Orders, No. 40, issued December 22, 1865.27
Following the General Convention of 1865, when only two southern
bishops took their seats, the House of Bishops consented to the juris-
diction of Bishop Wilmer on two conditions: that he show evidence of
his consecration; and that he conform to the canons of the Church in the
United States. At a council meeting of the Diocese in Montgomery,
January 17, 1866, it was resolved that the Church in Alabama should
resume its normal relation to the National Church. From.this meeting
Bishop Wilmer went to New York, and there in Trinity Chapel, on the
last day of that month, made the prescribed Declaration of Conformity,
which reinstated him and the Church in Alabama as an integral part of
the Church in the United States.28
After the Civil War and during the Reconstruction era Negro mem-
bership of the Church in Alabama created a difficult and delicate
situation. Bewildered by their new—found freedom, these Negroes be-
came suspicious of the men who had been their friends in years past.
In matters of religion they preferred to listen to one of their own
25. Whitaker, pp, gig., p. 175. 28. Mhitaker, gp. 2;;,, p.
` 26. Ibid., p. IBB. 195.
27. Ibid., p. 185. 29. Ibid., p. 196.

Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama
?~ V " `» By 1867 the established Protestant Episcopal churches for Negroes
in the state had dwindled to two in number: the Church of the Good
oiq Shepherd, Mobile; and the Faunsdale Chapel, on the plantation of the
' Rev. William A. Stickney, Marengo County. For several years Mr.
I - Stickney continued his religious endeavors among the Negroes, but
` ‘ finally he was forced to abandon the attempt. His experience was
“ closely duplicated by others who made similar efforts.$O
This situation in Alabama brought the clergy cf Alabama consid-
-‘ erable criticism, chiefly because of lack of complete understanding of
· the facts involved.Zl‘ Gradually conditions changed, and the Negro, in
a more receptive mood, again turned to his former master for help. By
1882 mission work among the Negroes had been revived, under the leader-
ship of the Rev. J. S. Johnston, rector of Trinity Church, Mobile.32
During the Reconstruction and post—Reconstruction periods there
were numerous readjustments to be made by the Church in Alabama. The
- 0rphans' Home, which in 1864 had been founded in Tuscaloosa, was facing
a crisis. As a result, the property in Tuscaloosa was sold, and in
l867 the Home was moved to Mobile and reestablished on property donated
by St. John's Church. The people of Mobile supported the work of this
Home and through the years it has continued to render valuable service
- to needy children.55
., t In Montgomery, Hamner Hall, a Diocesan seminary for girls, which
, had opened with success in 1860, was confronted with the settlement of
many debts and the question of final ownership. After lengthy legal
entanglements and investigations a part of this property was sold to
liquidate the indebtedness.$4 The remainder of the property was leased
as a private school until the building was destroyed by fire. The lot
was afterwards purchased by the City of Montgomery and is now (1959)
known as Hamner Park.
- Apparently as a result of the discordant sociological forces of
the decade immediately following Reconstruction, the year 1875 dis-
closed a low ebb in the development of the Church in alabama.
Although there was increasing need for support of the missionary
program in the Diocese, a decline in contributions had been clearly
manifested. The General Board had decreased its appropriation, and,
. throughout the state there was an accompanying decline in missionary
As early as 1875 attempts had been made at the annual convention
to obtain the needed funds for missionary purposes, but several years
. 50. Whitaker, gp. pip., p. 200. 55. Uhitaker, pp. pip., p. 214.
51. Ibid., p. 205. 54. Ibid., pp. 219-252.
’ ` i 52. Ibid., p. 208. 55. Ibid., p. 240.

Protestant Episcopal Church in Alabama
passed before a Diocesan Board of Missions was finally established, with
Bishop Wilmer as chairman and Charles E. Waller, a layman of Greensboro,
as treasurer. Within a short time after this system of support was
adopted, the crisis which had been facing the mission program was
‘ Following that period of stress, came several years, from 1884
to 1891, when the swing of the pendulum was carried in the opposite
The central section of Alabama now developed rapidly, and no
less than twenty new churches were organized. It was a time of gen-
erous contributions, and, as a result, there was an increase in the
number of clergy and missionary workers. Uith this influx of new
. . blood, the local clergy were aroused to more intensive work; the laity
_ evinced a growing interest in the Church; and the number of guilds,
societies, and layreaders increased. The steady growth in the number
of communicants gave the clergy new courage, and more extensive develop-
ments were undertaken. Such was the promising aspect of the late
At this time Bishop Wi1mer's health, after years of strenuous
work, began to decline. An archdeacon, the Rev. Horace Stringfellow,
was elected to assist him. Mr. Stringfe1low's duties were to relieve
the Bishop of attention to details and to have general supervision of
the missionary posts. In the Convention of 1890, which met at St.
John's in Montgomery, many of the clergy pressed for the election of
an assistant bishop. The Archdeacon and the Bishop both opposed this
move. But on May 23, 1890 the Bishop gave his consent. A special
meeting of the Council was held in Selma on October 29, 1890, and
_ several names were suggested for the office. Finally, after two or
three attempts at an election, the Rev, Henry Melville Jackson, of
Richmond, Va., was elected Assistant Bishop. He was consecrated in
St. Pau1's Church, Selma, January 21, 1891.58 By this time the
growth that had been awaited by the Church was evidenced in many
ways. Even though the number of congregations had not changed
materially, membership and income had increased several fold.
Assistant Bishop Jackson's Episcopate was short, lasting less
than ten years. He resigned in 1900 because of ill health and died
_ the following May. The Diocesan Council met in Christ Church, Mobile,
p May 18, 1900, and elected as Bishop Coadjutor, the Rev. Robert Wood-
ward Barnwell, rector of St. Pau1's Church, Selma.59 This was the
first time in the history of the Diocese that a resident clergyman
had been elected Bishop or Bishop Coadjutor. Bishop Wilmer died June
_ _ _ , 36. Whitaker, gp. pip., p, 58. Nhitaker, pp, p