The Silver Story

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1. The Gift

The 2 Patens and 2 cups (chalice, flagon) were an 1827 gift by John Gray to St. George’s as recorded by historian Philip Slaughter in his History of St. George’s Parish in the County of Spotsylvania, and Diocese of Virginia: With a Biography of the Author and a Continuation, Embracing the History of St. George’s and Trinity Churches to the Present Time.

John Gray, a native of Gartcraig, Scotland, came to America in 1784 and settled at Port Royal in Caroline County. He married Lucy Robb of Port Royal. Gray was bookseller, a bank director, an officer in the American Colonization Society and had a home at Traveler’s Rest in Stafford purchased in 1809.

2. Civil War – Quenzel

1862 – Cup (Chalice)

On Dec. 12, Federal troops occupied the town. St. George’s sexton Washington Wright, who was a free black on the church staff, noticed four Union soldiers at the altar. Instead of praying, Wright saw they were stealing the four-piece engraved sterling silver communion service that had been in use since 1827. Wright pursued them from the church and was able to recover one cup (chalice) from a soldier he caught.

1866 – Paten

In the spring of 1866 the vestry learned that the paten of the service was in the hands of the New York Police. Since this piece was easily identified by its inscription, presumably it was returned.”

Learning of the loss of most of the communion service, Mr. Ruxton Maury and Miss Ann Maury, both of New York, presented St. George’s with a new flagon and cup.

1869 – Paten

“According to the vestry minutes a portion of the communion service came into the possession of Mr. 0. E. Jones of Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York.”

“On behalf of the St. George’s vestry the Episcopal rector at Jamestown attempted to buy the plate but Mr. Jones declined, stating that he desired to present the service in person to the Church. On June 8, 1869, the vestry formally moved that since a considerable length of time has elapsed without it being convenient for Mr. Jones to personally return the plate (paten), it “authorizes the Reverend Levi Norton and a Mr. John F. Kinney of Jamestown to thank Mr. Jones for his generous action and to receive the plate.”

1931-Cup (Chalice)

“On the other hand, a well-informed vestryman has written that a friend of St. George’s Church advised Mr. Reuben Thorn, the senior warden, that he had seen the goblet and waiter at a residence near Albany, New York, and supplied the name and address of the holder. At first this individual, who was a candidate for high public office, refused to surrender the property, but he returned the silver within a week after the wardens threatened to send the facts to the New York papers. Perhaps Mr. Jones was the politician mentioned by Judge Wallace but it would be unwise to be positive about the matter.”

“In 1931 a resident of Wollaston, Massachusetts, offered to return a communion cup taken from the church during the Civil War for $75. The woman accepted the vestry’s counter-offer of $50 and the cup was re­placed in the church as a memorial to the late Miss Betty Goodwin, for many years president of the chancel guild.” See below.



3. Free-Lance Star – 1980
In 1980, the silver was stolen and found in a sack in a nearby alley.

4. Free-Lance Star – 1990
On March 10, 1990 a silver chalice was stolen after someone broke into the Church from the alley. A $500 reward was offered. The silver according to Rev. Charles Sydnor was given in gratitude since Gray had survived a journey from England. Sydnor said “It has actual value, sentimental value and historic value.”

On April 5, 1990 it was found at home 18 year old Woodbridge man who had stolen items from Corky’s in downtown Fredericksburg.