Quenzel – Intro – text

THE HISTORY
AND BACKGROUND OF
ST. GEORGE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
FREDERICKSBURG,
VIRGINIA

by

CARROL H. QUENZEL

Librarian and Professor of History

Mary Washington College of

the University of Virginia

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

1951

COPYRIGHT 1951-BY THE VESTRY OF ST_ GEORGE’S EPISCOPAL
CHURCH OF FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Printed by CLYDE W. SAUNDERS AND SONS, RICHMOND, VIRGIN; .

This Edition is Dedicated to

WILLIAM TURNER PRATT

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

THIS HISTORY was written at the suggestion of the vestry.

In making this request the vestry was probably motivated

by the fact that no history of the c~urc~ .had been published
since 1890-the date of R. A. Brock s ed,tlOn of the Reverend
Philip Slaughter’s A History of St. George’s Parish . ..
which had originally appeared in 1847. Copies of either edition
of Slaughter’s pioneer work are extremely scarce.

In hammering this modest study into final shape I have had
the benefit of helpful criticism, for which I am deeply grateful.
I am especially indebted to Dr. George MacLaren Brydon, historiographer
of the Diocese of Virginia; the Reverend Clayton
Torrence, director of the Virginia Historical Society; Mr. George
Carrington Mason, historiographer of the Diocese of Southern
Virginia; Mr. Benjamin W. Early of the English department of
Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia; Mr.
William K. Goolrick and Dr. Gordon Jones, vestrymen of St.
George’s Church; the Reverend Thomas G. Faulkner, Jr., rector
of St. George’s and my wife, Lula Ashworth Quenzel, who read
the entire manuscript.

I also acknowledge my indebtedness to the following mem

bers or friends of St. George’s who read part of the manuscript

and proposed useful emendations: Mr. George W. Shepherd,

one-time senior warden; Mr. George L. Hunter, Jr., long-time
church treasurer; Mrs. Houston K. Sweetser; Mr. George H. S.

King; Mr. Ralph Happel of the National Park Service; and Miss
Carolyn L. Taylor, librarian of the Protestant Episcopal Seminary

in Virginia. None of the persons who read all or part of my manuscript
are to be held responsible for any of my views or statements;
but I dread to think how many inaccuracies would have appeared

in the text if I had not been able to profit by their numerous

corrections and suggestions.
Mr. W. A. Smoot of Alexandria, Virginia, graciously lent

me Dr. Edward C. McGuire’s Diary and Dr. Brydon exceeded

the generosity of most librarians by patiently mailing me the
diocesan library’s entire file of the journals of the annual conferences
or councils. Dr. Brydon also permitted me to read in
manuscript part of the forthcoming second volume of his Virginia’s

Mother Church.

CONTENTS

PAGE
Introduction by G. MacLaren Brydon.. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .. vii

Chapter
I The Colonial Period. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II Yorktown to Appomattox. . . .. . . .. . . . .. .. . . . . … 19
III The Post-Bellum Period. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 43
IV The Twentieth Century. . . . . . .. . . . . . . .. .. . . . . … 59

Bibliography ………………………………….. . 75

Appendices

A. Text of the St. George’s Parish Act of 1714.. 83

B. Number of Communicants, 1813-…. . . . . . . . . . . .. 86

C. The Succession of Rectors, 1726-. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 88

D. A List of the Vestrymen, 1726-…. . . . . .. . . .. . . . .. 90

E. Service Record of Longtime Vestrymen in the Twen

tieth Century. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 98

F. Seating Plan of the Church in 1849. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 99

G. Memorial Windows……………………….. 100
H Burials in St. George’s Graveyard. . . . . . . . . . . 101
Inscriptions and Notes by George H. S. King.

Index………………………………………… . 117

INTRODUCTION

ONE OF THE notable trends in the present-day study of
the history of the American people is a growing realization
of the importance of local parish histories. The story of
the life of any congregation of Christian people of whatever
denominational name, if that congregation has existed for a
hundred years or more, will bring to light actions and experiences,
and modes of thought, which though seemingly insignificant in
their relationship to larger issues, yet serve well in throwing light
upon the common life of the whole period.

For this reason a history of Saint George’s Parish in Spotsylvania
County, over a period of two hundred and thirty years
will be welcomed by many students of Virginia history. That
in the later period since the War Between the States it becomes
more directly the history of the one mother-congregation of
Saint George’s Church in Fredericksburg, rather than a continuation
of the history of the whole parish, covering half the county,
is but an illustration of the general trend towards centralizatiun
and urbanization which has become one of the most striking
features of our present generation.

Old Saint George’s Parish has had a varied experience in the
near quarter of a millenium of its life. It was founded at first in
1714 to include a new group of German settlers, as a means of
releasing them from the payment of tithes to the Established
Church, and to enable them to have their own forms of worship
under their own ministers. Seven years later, under Governor
Alexander Spotswood, the first definite movement to check the
French advance of settlement and domination in the Ohio River
Valley was put into effect by the creation of a new county as the
first to extend into territory beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains.
This new country was named Spotsylvania County, and according
to general custom of the colonial period in Virginia a parish
of the Established Church was formed to cover the whole territory
in order that as new settlers began to come into the new
territory they might have from the first some opportunity of
religious worship. In this case the little parish established for
some German people, having served its purpose, was enlarged to
cover the whole county. Thus it became the first religious organization
beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains; and so Spotsylvania
County became the grandmother of all the counties formed in the
far southwest.

From the beginning Saint George’s Parish, and its home town
and city of Fredericksburg have taken part in all the life of
Virginia. The uncle of Patrick Henry, the orator of the Revolutionary
period, was one of its first ministers, and later the boy
George Washington, came from his home on the opposite side of

viii The History of St. George’s Episcopal Church
the River to attend school in Fredericksburg. During the Revolution
the largest gun factory operated by the Commonwealth of
Virginia was in the town. Saint George’s Church and the parish
suffered all the experiences of devastation-and prostration of the
Episcopal Church in the post-revolutionary period. Again, during
the War Between the States, when the town was bombarded by
Federal forces, Saint George’s Church and her people suffered
along with the rest of the community. _
Life since that period of warfare has brought many changes,
and also its present day growth of population, and widening
opportunities of Christian service. Notable among other changes
a~younger sister congregation has grown up within the town,
as Trinity Church, to share with the Mother Church in the life
and work of today, as it shares also in all the past history of the
parish.
Saint George’s Church has been fortunate in securing a
trained historical student to search out, assemble and evaluate
the facts of its past history: and all who are interested in accuracy
of historical statement will be grateful to Dr. Quenzel for the
care and devotion he has given to that work.
Richmond, Virginia
February, 1951.
G. MACLAREN BRYDON, Historiographer,
Diocese of Virginia

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