The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history

Posts tagged “Colbert County Alabama

And the lights came on in Sheffield…

Below is an interesting bit of history for Sheffield and Colbert County, Alabama:
Messrs. J. A. May and C. B. Ashe Lease Light and Water Plants
TUSCUMBIA, Jan. 8. An important deal for Sheffield, in which Mr. J. A. May, of Tuscumbia, is interested, was consummated several days ago.
Mr. J. A. May and Mr. C. B. Ashe, of Sheffield, have leased the property of Consolidated Water, Light & Power Company, of Sheffield, and will operate the electric light plant.
It is probable that Tuscumbia will have a telephone exchange of its own in the near future. The Citizen’s Telephone Company, of Florence, contemplates establishing an exchange in this city, which will also be connected with the Florence exchange. The Citizen’s Company has been contesting the field in Florence with the Bell Telephone Company for a year, and has many subscribers.[Source: Daily Mercury newspaper, published in Huntsville, Alabama, 9 Jan 1897, Page 3, Column 5]

James Richardson Isbell’s Find-A-Grave Memorial..

Find A Grave Memorial# 105684640

James R. Isbell
Birth:  Oct. 5, 1791
Sevier County
Tennessee, USA

Death:  Jun. 4, 1844
Lim Rock
Jackson County
Alabama, USA

James R Isbell  was born October 5, 1791 in Tennessee, and died June 4, 1844, at Lim Rock, Jackson Co., AL.

His name is given as James R. Isbell in some records.
Because he had a nephew (son of brother Levi) named James Richardson Isbell, some believe his name was James Richardson.

James Isbell married Elizabeth Birdwell on Saturday, May 1,1813 by Rev. John Canterbury at Enon Baptist Church in Huntsville, Madison Co., Mississippi Territory — later Alabama Territory and State of Alabama (Madison County, Alabama Marriage Book 1, page 104: license issued Saturday, April 24, 1813). Enon is now the First Baptist Church of Huntsville. A family tree said they married on Saturday, May 1, 1813, which was May Day. Enon Church records (p.11) show Church Service was conducted Saturday, May 1.
Elizabeth Birdwell was the daughter of John Birdwell, one of the founders of Enon Church (Isbell Country by Odessa Morrow Isbell, pp. 19-20, 229; The Mitchells of Linn Flatt by Gwenneth Mitchell, p.215).

His brother Levi Isbell married Sarah H. Birdwell.
John Birdwell offered slaves to his daughters and sons-in-law, James and Levi Isbell. Sarah Birdwell and husband Rev. Levi Isbell refused but Elizabeth Birdwell and James Isbell accepted theirs (Isbell Country, p. 20; The Mitchells of Linn Flatt by Gwenneth Mitchell; The Heritage of Marshall County, Alabama, p.199).

24 Feb. 1818, Limestone County, Alabama: Moses Birdwell was assigned 158.60 acres by James Isbell (#1156) at cost of $317.20. Moses Birdwell paid $77.30 in stock and cash on 23 Feb. 1818. On 16 Oct. 1818 James Isbell completed the transfer of land to Moses Birdwell. (Recorded in Old Land Records, Limestone Co.; cited in Birdwell Family Tree by Velma Schonder.)

4 Sept. 1821, Moses Birdwell received certificate #664 in Limestone Co. outlining the installment payments he needed to receive the patent on the land he had purchased from James Isbell. Moses Birdwell bought the land with aid from Congress in a law that gave relief to purchasers of public lands prior to 1 July 1820. In 1821 Moses Birdwell owed $237.90.
27 Sept. 1822: Moses Birdwell paid the balance owing on this date and received the final certificate for this land, certificate #1156.
25 Oct.1826: Moses Birdwell sold for $1000 to Stephen Flinn, both of Limestone Co., the land (or a portion thereof?) he had been assigned by James Isbell (Limestone Deed Book 2, pp.278-9; Alabama Records by Pauline Jones Gandrud, vol.24, p.45). The land was the SW 1/4 of sec. 3, twp.4, range 4W.

Before Statehood (1819) James Isbell and brothers John and Levi had bought several tracts of land in Madison County and present-day Jackson County. (Alabama Territorial Land Records.)

James Isbell is in Lincoln County, Tennessee census:
1 m 26-44 (James Isbell, head of house)
1 f 16-25 (Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell, wife)
1 f -10 (Mary Ann b. 1816)
1 m -10 (William b. 1818)

Before 1823 James Isbell staked claim to land in Township 4S Range 4E (NENE of Section 9), a mile NE of Isbell Cemetery and his brother John William Isbell’s property. James’s land here is shown on an 1823 survey as J.R. Isbell (I.D.#6998) and brother John’s is shown as J.W. Isbell (which adjoins a larger parcel in which his name is written “John Isbell.”

The survey map identifying James’ parcel is hard to read, but looks like J. r. Isbell.
But this same land patent was recorded in the name James R. Isbell in 1858, 14 after his death and acquired by his heirs. The estate of James R. Isbell was entered in the Probate Court of Jackson County in 1858 and the estate settlement lists all his heirs.

Interestingly, on this same survey dated 1823, a mile east of this property is a tract shown in the name of E. Conaway adjoining Wm. Gentle, Levi Isbell (m. Sarah Birdwell), Zachariah Isbell, B.B. Allen (who married Sarah’s daughter Mary Ann Isbell), and Culvers (inlaws). This same tract patent (#6944) was not recorded until 1860 when it was recorded in the name Elizabeth Conaway, who was the widow of James Isbell: Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell Conaway. As she did not remarry until 1846-47 to John Conaway (who died in 1853), the name of E. Conway on the 1823 survey appears to have been added in 1858-60.
The 1823 survey and 1860 patent map shows that the property of Sarah (Mrs. Levi) Isbell adjoined that of her sister, Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell Conway.
(Also see Family Maps of Jackson County, AL by Gregory A. Boyd, p.361.)

In 1828, James Isbell was a delegate from Blue Springs Church to the Mud Creek Baptist Association (ref., The First Hundred Years, A History of Baptists in Jackson Co., Alabama from 1821 until 1921 by J. Nelson Varnell [Samford University Library, Special Collections], vol. 2, p. 19).

1830 census Jackson Co, AL
1 male 30-39 (James Isbell, head)
1 male 10-14 (1816-20) Wm b. 3 Dec 1818
1 male 5-9 (1821-25) John S. b.25 Nov 1820
1 male 5-9 (1821-24) Allen b. 23 Mar 1825
1 female 30-39 (1791-99) (Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell b.1797-9)
1 female 10-14 (1816-1820) Mary Polly b1816 (married 1834)
1 female under 5 (1825-30) Susan b1827 (Sarah Amanda b1822 d1830 per a family tree)
1 female under 5 (1825-30) Margaret b1829
1 female 24-35
1 female under 10
From the Bible record, there should be 7 children shown in 1830, 4 girls and 3 boys, but one daughter seems to be missing, probably Sarah Amanda (a family tree says she died 1830). Mary Polly born 1816 did not marry until 1834, so both she and Margaret (born 1829) should be included.

1840 Jackson County, Alabama, census:
1 male 40-49 (James Isbell, head, age 49)
1 male 20-29 (1811-20) John S b1820
1 male 15-19 (1821-1825) Allen 1825
1 male 5-9 (1835-9) Benjamin 1831
1 male 5-9 (1835-9) James H 1833
1 male 5-9 (1835-39) Zachariah b1835
1 female 40-49 (Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell, wife)
1 female 10-14 (1826-30) Sarah b1822 (age 18–gone?) or Susan b1827
1 female 10-14 (1826-30) Susan b1827 (or Margaret b1829)
1 female under 5 Margaret b1829 (or Eliz b1838)
1 female under 5 Eliz b1838 (or Lucinda b1840)
1 female 10-23

William & Mary Polly were gone by 1840. Sarah Amanda born 1822 would be 18, was gone or dead. A family tree says Sarah Manda died 1830. She definitely was not named in the 1857 or 1890 probate records.

According to James Isbell’s descendants, the Houk and Murray families, James R. Isbell was buried at Blue Spring Cemetery at Larkinsville. Other descendants said he was buried at “Larkinsville Cemetery,” which has caused some confusion as that is the cemetery that is also called Beech Grove. All these cemeteries are nearby and not far from the Isbell family cemetery.

Jackson County, Alabama,
Will and Probate Record K, p. 108:
John Isbell, guardian of the minor heirs of James Isbell deceased, 1846, showing a payment by him to Elizabeth Isbell for “rent for 1845.” Note that this is obviously the widow of James Isbell.
Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell, widow, married John Conway 1846-47. In the 1850 census they were listed in Jackson County. He died Sept 7, 1853.

Descendants qualify for membership in First Families of Alabama (through the Alabama Genealogical Society) and the First Families of Tennessee (through the East Tennessee Historical Society) #10,880, #10,881. Also the First Families of Kentucky (through John Miller), Colonial Dames of the XVII Century (through Capt. Zachariah Isbell), Sons of the Republic of Texas and Daughters of the Republic of Texas (through John Birdwell).

Jackson County, Alabama, Probate Court:
April 1857, pages 181-182
June 1857, pages 241-242.
These name heirs of James Isbell, including Susan Murray, wife of Jackson Murray.
These do not show the widow Elizabeth,
who Elizabeth had remarried by 1850, but was living with her daughter Lucinda Murray in Jackson County at the 1870 census.

Heirs of James Isbell are listed in his brother Zachariah’s estate administration in 1890 (Dekalb County, Alabama, Probate Minute Book K, pp. 582-586).

The children of James Isbell and Elizabeth Birdwell were:
1. Mary Ann “Polly” Isbell born 1 APR 1816 (probably named for maternal grandmother, Mary Allen Birdwell)
2. William Birdwell Isbell born 3 DEC 1818, d. 14 Feb 1856 White Co., Arkansas)
3. John S. Isbell born 25 NOV 1820
4. Sarah Amanda Isbell born 25 DEC 1822, died 27 Apr 1830 according to a family tree (taken from another Birdwell bible and a newspaper item; not on 1830-40 censuses nor 1857 and 1890 probate records)
5. Allen Isbell born 23 MAR 1825 (named for uncle Allen Birdwell)
6. Susan Isbell born 18 JAN 1827
7. Margaret Isbell born 24 MAR 1829
8. Benjamin Isbell born 6 MAY 1831
9. James H. Isbell born 25 AUG 1833
10. Zachariah Isbell born 25 JUN 1835
11. Elizabeth Isbell born 18 JAN 1838
12. Lucinda Isbell born 8 JUL 1840 (tombstone says 1841) m. John K. Murray
13. Levi Isbell born 17 JUL 1843 (tombstone says 17 July 1847)

Some internet genealogies confuse this James R. Isbell with his cousin Dr. James R. Isbell (c1761-1840) from Greene County, Tennessee, father of William M. Isbell (15 Jun 1816-2 Dec 1877) and James H. Isbell who were at the Battle of San Jacinto, Texas. Some family trees show Zachariah Isbell Jr. as the probable father of Dr. James R. Isbell, although Zachariah Jr.’s brother William most likely was his father, or another brother, Jason.

Daughter of John Birdwell & Mary Allen.
Granddaughter of George Birdwell, as shown by First Families of Tennessee (East Tennessee Historical Society), #10.880 and #10.881.

One of Elizabeth Isbell’s sons and three grandsons were named Birdwell.

Elizabeth Birdwell was born in Tennessee Dec. 31, 1797 or Jan. 1, 1800 (1850-70 censuses prove Tennessee was birth place).
Tombstone and 1850 census give 1800 date while the James Isbell Bible and 1860-70 censuses give the 1797 date.
In 1813, Elizabeth Birdwell married James Isbell in Madison County, Alabama, three years before her younger sister Sarah Birdwell (born 1799) married James Isbell, indicating that the 1797 date in the Bible is the most likely correct date.

John Birdwell and family moved to Madison County in 1805 FROM TENNESSEE (see historic marker, Old Bethel Church, Marshall Co., AL).
The 1809 census shows he had 6 daughters.
Elizabeth fits as one of these. The other five known daughters born before 1809 were Mary/Polly, Nancy, Sarah, Susan, and Jane.

In 1812, John Birdwell’s brother Moses Birdwell moved FROM GEORGIA to Madison County and was the only other Birdwell family in the county in 1813. Moses lived in Georgia 1791-1812; all his children were born in Georgia and Alabama.
Moses and 2nd wife Hannah Falkindon had a daughter Elizabeth born 1822 in Limestone Co., AL.
In 1818, Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell’s husband James Isbell sold land in Limestone Co., AL. to her uncle Moses Birdwell.

John Birdwell and his brother Moses were the only two Birdwell families in Madison County, Alabama, in 1813, when Elizabeth Birdwell married James Isbell there, and both Birdwell brothers were sons of George Birdwell.

Jan. 4, 1956 letter from Maud McLure Kelly to Ethlyn Rainey quoting Rainey’s previous letter (Dec 1955) in turn quoting MM Kelly’s earlier letter (probably Nov-Dec 1955) stating “Elizabeth Birdwell who married James Isbell (was) the daughter of John Birdwell and sister of Sarah H. Birdwell Isbell.”
Maud McLure Kelly, Acquisitions Agent and Asst. Dir. of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, was the first woman lawyer in Alabama and first woman lawyer qualified to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. (Isbell and Birdwell vertical files, microfilm, Alabama State Archives.)

Letter from Ethlyn Isbell Rainey dated Sept. 12, 1978, p. 7, again stated that Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell was the daughter of John Birdwell and sister of her great-grandmother Sarah Birdwell Isbell.
Ethlyn Rainey was a member of the Heroes of Kings Mountain Chapter DAR, along with two sisters, one of whom (Mrs. Dorsett Davis) was also Regent.
In 1954 Ethlyn Rainey was the GOP nominee for State Treasurer of Alabama.
Ethlyn’s grandfather Elijah Miller Isbell was a double first cousin of the children of Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell and, as the administrator of the estate of his uncle Zachariah Isbell, he documented all known children of James and Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell on his list of heirs. Ethlyn Rainey grew up in the home with Elijah Miller Isbell’s widow, her grandmother, and was well educated in the Isbell-Birdwell family histories so she was well qualified to state the family relationships correctly. She wrote of two family legends:
(1) that the two Isbell brothers worked for John Birdwell and married his two daughters; and
(2) that John Birdwell gave slaves to his children before moving to Texas, that Levi and Sarah Birdwell Isbell refused theirs but that James and Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell accepted theirs (also reiterated by Ethlyn’s sister Cora Walker, D.A.R. member, in Heritage of Marshall Co., AL. (2000), p.199; also, Families and History of Sullivan County, Tennessee [Vol. 1 1779-1992; Vol. 2. 1779-2006] (Holston Territory Genealogical Society, 1992), p. 349; and Isbell Country by Odessa Morrow Isbell, pp. 19, 20, 229; The Mitchells of Linn Flat by Gwenneth Mitchell).

The 1830 census shows James and Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell owned 2 female slaves, and the 1840 census shows 1 female slave (probably the younger of the two in 1830). These were probably housekeepers for Elizabeth.

Another great-granddaughter of Levi Isbell and Sarah Birdwell who wrote of Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell and Sarah Birdwell Isbell being sisters was Cora Helen Isbell Walker, Ph.D. (Library Sciences), member of the Heroes of Kings Mountain Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Guntersville, Alabama, NSDAR #754316. Cora H. Walker wrote the following, published in Heritage of Marshall Co., AL. (2000), p.199:
“John Birdwell … organized Birdwell Spring(s) Baptist Church near Moulton, AL… two Isbell brothers, James and Levi, who came from Tennessee to Madison County, they worked for Mr. B. Both brothers married Birdwell sisters. James married Elizabeth and Levi married Sarah (Sallie). When Mr. B. and family left Madison Co. for Rusk Co. Texas, he offered Elizabeth and James and Levi and Sallie slaves — James and Elizabeth accepted, but Levi refused as he did not believe in slavery, he and Sallie were given money instead.” Written by Cora H. Isbell Walker, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell Conway Chronlogy Continued:
1846: John W. Isbell, Admn. of estate of James Isbell, paid rent for (widow) Mrs. Elizabeth Isbell for the year 1845.
1847-9 Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell married John Conaway.

1850 Jackson Co., AL Census:
John Conaway 60 VA
Elizabeth Conaway 50 TN (nee Birdwell)
Zachariah Conaway (Isbell) 16
Elizabeth Conaway (Isbell) 12
Lucinda Conaway (Isbell) 10
Levi Conaway (Isbell) 7

She was widowed in 1853.
By 1860 she was living with Elijah Murray family, uncle of her two sons-in-law Murray.

1860 census: Jackson Co., AL
E.A. Murray 23 (Elijah A.)
N.J. Murray 19 (Nancy J.)
M.A. Murray 1
Elizabeth Conaway 63 TN (nee Birdwell)
Levi Conaway (Isbell) 17

1860: The land staked in 1823 by James Isbell was patented in the name E. Conaway.
1858: The land patent (I.D.#6998)staled by James R. Isbell in 1823 was recorded in the name James R. Isbell, 14 after his death, and acquired by his estate. The estate of James R. Isbell was entered in the Probate Court of Jackson County and the estate settlement lists all his heirs.
The second tract (patent #6944), 1 mile east, and also adjoining Sarah Birdwell (Mrs. Levi) Isbell, was recorded 1860 in the name Elizabeth Conaway, who was the widow of James Isbell.

By 1870 Elizabeth was living with her daughter Lucinda Isbell Murray, widow of Elijah Murray’s nephew.
1870 Jackson Co, AL
Lusinda Murry 30 (nee Isbell)
Mary E Murry 10
Marian M. Murry 7 male
Elizabett Coneway 74 TN (nee Birdwell)

In 1872 she was believed to be living with her youngest son James Hugh Isbell in Colbert County where she died.

Lucinda Isbell Murray’s death certificate lists parents Jim & Elizabeth Isbell.
Her brother Levy (sic) Isbel’s death certificate lists father James Isbel.

James Hugh Isbell married Clarissa Elizabeth Crittenden, the daughter of his first cousin Martha Birdwell Crittenden of Crittenden’s Crossroads. Martha’s father John A Birdwell was a brother of Elizabeth Isbell Birdwell.

Family links:
William Zachariah Isbell (1769 – 1826)
Sarah Richardson Isbell (1775 – 1845)

Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell Conway (1800 – 1872)

Mary Ann Isbell Talkington (1816 – 1889)*
William Birdwell Isbell (1818 – 1857)*
Susan Anna Isbell Murray (1826 – 1892)*
Benjamin Isbell (1832 – 1906)*
James Hugh Isbell (1833 – 1902)*
Zachariah Isbell (1835 – 1863)*
Elizabeth Catherine Isbell Peters (1838 – 1865)*
Lucinda Isbell Murray (1841 – 1910)*
David Levi Isbell (1842 – 1918)*
David Levi Isbell (1842 – 1918)*

John William Isbell (1789 – 1873)
James R. Isbell (1791 – 1844)
Levi Isbell (1797 – 1876)
Miller Isbell (1800 – 1859)
Elizabeth Isbell Summers (1804 – 1872)
Hannah Isbell Mershon (1805 – 1892)
Jemima Isbell Summers (1807 – 1842)
Nancy Margaret Isbell Baker (1814 – 1846)
Zachariah Isbell (1814 – 1890)*
Rebecca Isbell Bruton (1816 – ____)

Blue Spring Cemetery
Jackson County
Alabama, USA
Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]
Created by: Ray Isbell
Record added: Feb 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 105684640

James Alexander Murray…

was a good Christian man. He is my paternal grandfather, we called him “Grandpa”.

James Alexander Murray was born in 1904 likely near Spring Valley in Colbert County, Alabama He was born to parents Levi Murray and Lou Ella Vandiver Murray. He married Methel Estelle Gregory, daughter of Elmer Gilbert Gregory and Alice Sparks Gregory, on the 31st day of December 1922 in Tuscumbia, Colbert County, Alabama. [1]

For those attending to detail in family research, it is self evident that so many things in official and government records are riddled with errors. An example would be the marriage record for James Alexander “Alex” Murray and Methel Estelle Gregory.The notation of race in the marriage record is completely in error. Their race was WHITE. The same is to be said of transcription errors; that is evidenced in the marriage record for his second marriage. His parents’ names are incorrect; should read Levi Murray and Lou Ella Vandiver.

James Alexander “Alex” Murray and Methel Estelle Gregory had four living children: James Arlander Murray, Edward Lee Murray, Elmer Hillard Murray, and Alice Estelle Murray.

James Alexander “Alex” Murray and Thelma McGee Murray[2]had five children: Gary Thomas Murray and Sarah Murray who died as infants, Linda Marie Murray, Thelma Fay Murray and Ella Susan Murray.

He passed away in 1981 after a battle with chronic Leukemia. He is buried at the Morning Star Cemetery, as are his wives.

Marriage of James Alexander Murray and Methel Estelle Gregory

Name: James A. Murray
Gender: Male
Race: Black
Marriage Date: 31 Dec 1922
Marriage Place: Tuscumbia, Colbert, AL.
Spouse: Miss Methel Gregory
FHL Film Number: 1031169
Reference ID: vol L 1922-23 pg 418[3]
Marriage of James Alexander Murray and Cecil Thelma Mcgee.

Mentioned in the record of James Alexander Murray and Cecil Thelma Mcgee[4]
Name: James Alexander Murray
Gender: Male
Event Type: Marriage
Event Date: 27 Dec 1941
Event Place: Colbert, Alabama, United States
Age: 37
Birth Year (Estimated): 1904
Father’s Name: Leve Murray
Mother’s Name: Lou Ella Vandauer
Spouse’s Name: Cecil Thelma Mcgee
Spouse’s Gender: Female
Spouse’s Age: 22
Spouse’s Birth Year (Estimated): 1919
Spouse’s Father’s Name: Tom Mcgee
Page: 387
James Alexander Murray

Find A Grave Index[5]
Name: James Alexander Murray
Event Type: Burial
Event Date: 1981
Event Place: Tuscumbia, Colbert, Alabama, United States of America
Photograph Included: Y
Birth Date: 26 Jan 1904
Death Date: 16 Jul 1981
Affiliate Record Identifier: 48935440
Cemetery: Morning Star Cemetery


  1. Citing this Record: “Marriage of James Alexander Murray and Methel Estelle Gregory. “Alabama, Select Marriages, 1816-1957 about James A. Murray Name: James A. Murray Gender: Male Race: Black Marriage Date: 31 Dec 1922 Marriage Place: Tuscumbia, Colbert, AL. Spouse: Miss Methel Gregory FHL Film Number: 1031169 Reference ID: vol L 19”
  2. Citing this Record “Alabama County Marriages, 1809-1950”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 July 2015), James Alexander Murray and Cecil Thelma Mcgee, 1941.
  3. Alabama, Select Marriages, 1816-1957
  4. Citing this Record “Alabama County Marriages, 1809-1950”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 July 2015), James Alexander Murray and Cecil Thelma Mcgee, 1941.
  5. “Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2015), James Alexander Murray, 1981; Burial, Tuscumbia, Colbert, Alabama, United States of America, Morning Star Cemetery; citing record ID 48935440, Find a Grave,

There are heroes in every family…

and that is as true for the George family of Barton, Colbert County, Alabama as is for everyone. If you have not researched your family history, you may not even know how many heroes that you carry around a little bit of them in your dna today. It is important for children to know their roots, and then it is up to their parents to give them wings. Jennifer George asked about her George lineage. And just a short intense study of the family provides a lot of ground work for Jennifer and her family to add to; photos are especially important in family history in my estimation and only the family can provide those, except maybe for grave marker photos. Jennifer George’s parents are Lloyd George and Cheryl Ussery George. Floyd’s parents were Wilmer and Jessie Pearl Johnson George. Wilmer’s full name was Velma G but was called Wilmer, or perhaps that was a middle name. Jessie Pearl Johnson’ parents were John William Johnson or perhaps John Thomas Johnson; researchers have given both names for her father. Wilmer George and Jessie Pearl Johnson George had three known children: Clarice George Holt, Wilmer J George and Lloyd Douglas George. The following is gleaned from Lloyd George’s obituary:

Lloyd Douglas George, 48, Colbert Heights, died Nov. 9, 2001.The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, 2001, at Morrison Funeral Home chapel, Tuscumbia, with burial in Tuscumbia Oakwood Cemetery. Officiating will be Tommy Heaps and Charles Richey. Mr. George was a native of Sheffield. He was the former owner of Georges Wrecker Service. He was a member of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. Mr. George was preceded in death by his father, W.G. George; brother, W.J. George; and sister, Clarice Holt. He loved deer hunting, arrowhead hunting and fishing. Above all, he loved Courtney (Pawpaws girl).He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Cheryl Ussery George, Colbert Heights; mother, Jessie George, Tuscumbia; daughter, Jennifer George Wilkinson, Colbert Heights; grandchild, Courtney Wilkinson, Colbert Heights; nieces, nephews and many friends. Pallbearers will David Koon, Randy Jackson, Don Southall, Gilbert Borden, Mark Handley, James Bingham, Benji Dunn and Terril Chapman. Published in Florence Times Daily on November 11, 2001

With a cursory review of the military records, I do not find any record that a Velma or Wilmer George served during WWII, but that alone does not mean that he did not serve. Velma “Wilmer” George’s obituary which is shown here names his three children and states that he leaves five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. All his known siblings were still living except one, David Allen George who was born 1923 and apparently died in 1932.

Obit for Velmer Wilmer George Velma “Wilmer” George’s parents were David Keylon or Kellan George and Sarah Anna Moody George (1890-1987 ). They had three known sons and three known daughters. Their children were:  Velma G Wilmer George  (1910 – 1992), Martha Ida George Patrick (1913-1997), Odell Elizabeth George Patrick (1915-2010), David Allen George (1917-1991). Charlie George (1923-1932), John William George (1926-1998) and daughter Frances George Pate born 22 August 1932.

David George’s 5 June 1917 registration card for WWI provides the following information: he was 30 years of age, he had a wife and three dependent children, he farms for self, he is tall, has blue eyes and light hair, and is not bald, and he signed the document with his mark. It also gave his name as David Kellan George and his birth date as 18 December 1888 (whereas grave marker give birth as 19 December 1888) and states he was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee. David and Sarah Anna Moody married 23 Jun 1906 in Cherokee, Alabama. David died  17 March 1965 in Colbert County, Alabama. He like most of the family named George are buried at Barton Cemetery.

David George’s parents were William Alexander George and Martha Catherine “Mattie” Harbin George who was born 30 November 1873 in Lincoln County, Tennessee and died in 1962.  William Alexander George was born in 1853 in Lincoln County, Tennessee and died in June o f 1921 in Colbert County, Alabama. He reportedly died from the effects of contracting Typhoid Fever. Their children were:  Mahaley George Oliver (1870-1937, Nancy George Bolden (1876-1966), Sarah Minnie Lee George Lindsey (1884-1967), David Keylon George (1888-1965), Robert B George (1890-1951), John Thomas George (1891-1967), Oscar George (1894-1929), and Arthur George (1894-1927).

If this is the same William and Martha (sometimes listed as Margaret) who were in Rhome, Wise County, Texas in 1920,1930, and 1940, there may have been more children. A daughter named Nona is listed on those census records.

William Alexander George’s parents were named William and Nancy Perry George. William Alexander George first wife and family were: wife Nancy Marilda Fanning (1824-1850) and children Benjamin George, Elizabeth D George and Mahaley Marilda George who may have married Pleasant D Reynolds.

William George was born 1810 in Tennessee likely in either Franklin or Lincoln County and died 1896 in Smithfield, Lincoln County, Tennessee. His burial site is unknown at this date. He was called Billy by family and friends.

It would seem that William George may have  had a second family as well: wife Elisabeth R Clifton and children Ira Barker George born 1834, Nancy M George (1837-1900), Reuben W George  born 1839, William George born 1841, Sarah E George born 1842, Catherine Olive George born 1844, Mary Elizabeth George born 1847, and Isabella George. This needs more research to disprove or prove it, but seems possible since one of the sons was named Reuben. It appears that this Mrs George removed to Texas.

William George married again to Nancy Perry (1824-1897). Nancy Perry was the daughter of James Perry and Mary Polly Oliver Perry. William George and Nancy Perry married 6 May 1847 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. They had the following children:  James M George (1848-1899), Sarah Jane George (1850-1880), Samuel Jefferson George (1852-1910), William Alexander George (1854-1921), Felix Philander George (1858-1939)  who was called Dock, and M C George (1861-1870).

William and Nancy Marilda Fanning George’s son, Benjamin was killed in action during the War Between the States. Son, Samuel Jefferson George married Mary Elizabeth Fowler and he was born and died in Lincoln County, Tennesse. Samuel Jefferson George was a farmer. He was born on the 4th of July 1846 and died 18 September 1933. His burial was in Fanning Cemetery in Lincoln County.  Samuel J George and Mary Elizabeth Fowler George had the following children: Aldar George Mearse (1893-1963), Hannah George Pruitt (1898-1985), Mary Louella George Taylor (1900-1958), and Louellar George Taylor (1920-1921). It is possible that other William George’s sons also served during the War Between the States, but the scope of this limited research does not cover whether they served.

Photo of Samuel Jefferson George


William George’s parents were: Reuben George and Nancy Hodges George. Reuben George was born 31 Jul 1776 in Bedford, TN or Virginia and died  in Aug 1854 in Coffee County, Tennessee. No burial site has been located. Reuben was married first to Ann Handley, or so it would seem, but the dates are not adding up. Their son was Jacob Handley if indeed his wife was Ann Handley. Further research is required for this to be a certainty.

Reuben and Nancy Hodges George were married 13 June 1798 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. They  had the following children: Eleanor Ellen George born 1799, Rebecca Elizabeth George (1804-1882), Edmond George (1807-1887), William George (circa 1808-1876), Susan George born circa 1809, Travis George (1810-1860), Daniel George born 1816, Nancy E George born 1820,Mary Ann George born 1822, Louisa George born 1824, and Mariah George born 1829. There may also have been a son named Charles.

Reuben George (Junior’s) father was also named Reuben George born  25 Nov 1749 in Culpepper, Virginia and died 16 Jan 1832 in Pendleton, Virginia. His mother was Mildred Rogers George 1733-1788. She was buried in Stokes County, North Carolina. There seems to have been a large family of children of born to Reuben and Mildred Rogers George. The names listed are not verified as accurate, but listed just for reference in future research: Phillip George, Anna George, Mary Molly George, Rebecca George,  Lucy George, Byrd George,  Joseph George, Travis George,  Jesse George, Joseph George, Anne George, John George, Presley George, William George, and James George. If I counted correctly that is fifteen children; seems like too many for one mother, but it is believed possible.

Reuben George pension application for service during the Revolutionary War number i s S395567 as accessed from the “U. S. Revolutionary War Pensions and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900.” Reuben served as a Private  from Pendleton County Virginia, under the command of Col. Edward Stevens of the Virginia Line for a term of war for three years.  He was inscribed on the Roll of Virginia at the rate of 8 dollars per month to commence on the 4 of December 1818 with the Certificate of pension issued the 13 of Mary 1819? and sent to Hugh Holmes, Esq. in Winchester, Virginia. His Survivors Pension Application archive # M804. The Archive Roll number is 1062 and there are a total of 18 pages.

At the age of 68 when he made application he stated that he was enlisted at Pendleton County, Virginia in (the spring) of 1777  in Culpepper County, Virginia. He seemed to have lived in Pendleton County, Virginia at the time. He served in a company commanded by Captain John Elison, 10 Virginia Regiment and served until __ day of November 1783 when discharged at Hackensack, New York. He took part int he battles at Germantown, Brandywine, and White Marsh.

There are George family papers, 1718–1936. 163 items. Mss1G2937a and  are likely housed in Virginia.

This collection concerns four generations of the George family primarily of Fairford, Thornberry, and White Chimneys, Caroline County. Included is correspondence of Lewis George (1779–1847) with Elliott M. Burruss discusses the hiring of slaves (folder 1). There are papers of John Dudley George (1758–1781) including a copy of his will dated 17 March 1780 giving directions for the division of his slaves among beneficiaries (folder 5). Reuben George’s will  written 16 May 1799 provides for the bequest of named slaves (folder 6). And there are papers of Henry Hortensius George (1824–1902) include an undated list of slaves divided into lots and with monetary evaluations provided (folder 8).

There are certain to be errors in this research, as there always seem to be when you can not have in your hand the primary documentation for each and every record. Corrections will be needed and other information added by the family. Hopefully this gives them a sound foundation on which to build their family history.

With just a day and night devoted to intense research, the George family can now know with certainty that they have heroes within their family. You can not get much higher in hero status than being a soldier of the Revolution.


is when you come across something unexpectedly and by surprise. I was searching for the Tarbutton family that lived in Sheffield when I was a child. The twins were in my grade in elementary school. I stumbled on the name Grady Tarbutton included in a history of one of the beautiful old churches in Sheffield, Grace Episcopal Church. There was an article eighty-seven pages long that recorded the history of that church and its members. There are many familiar names in that report. Use the ‘find’ button to find names within the report. The report follows:


Grace Episcopal Church

Grace Episcopal Church, Sheffield, Alabama




Written and compiled by Mary Hermine Wilson


            The City of Sheffield was incorporated February 17, 1885.  The town, named for Sheffield, England, was predicted to be a successful industrial city.

Sheffield had been selected as a site for a new large-capacity smelting furnaces, the “iron boom” years had begun.  Railroads had built been built to transport the raw materials to the furnaces form the mines.  The Tennessee River made it economically feasible to ship the finished product to the Eastern markets.  All of this activity—the birth of a new city—attracted men of vision to this area.  Some of these influential businessmen settled in Sheffield and became important in its development.

Among the people moving to Sheffield were life-long Episcopalians anxious to establish their denomination here and have their own place to worship.  On January 6, 1887, a group met at the home of Mr. R. C. Randolph, at 900 Montgomery Avenue (in a home which stood where the Montgomery Arms apartment complex now stands), and with the assistance of the Reverend B. F. Mower, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Florence, Alabama, organized Grace Church, Sheffield.  Records do not show the names of all the persons present at this first meeting, but the first vestry elected was:  Messer’s R.C. Randolph, Edward Jones, R. I. Hill, J. D. Watkins, E.C. Downs, and J. P. Lee.  Mr. Randolph was elected senior warden and treasurer, and Edward Jones was elected junior warden and secretary.

During 1887, services were held at the first public school in Sheffield—a frame building located on the block between 9th and 10th Streets, on Atlanta Avenue (approximately where the Threadgill School now stands).  The school was built by the Sheffield Land, Iron, and Coal Company, and was called the Academy.  This school was used as a high school after the completion of the Alabama Avenue School in 1892.

The Reverend B.F. Mower held Sunday afternoon services twice a month for Grace Church, at the public school house during 1887, and until the Reverend Waddell took charge of Grace Church in January 1888.

According to the Journal of the Diocese (1879), the Reverend b. F. Mower took charge of Trinity, Florence, and St. John’s, Tuscumbia that year.  He was a Canadian, born in Montreal, March 9, 1819.  His early education was in Burlington, Vermont, and he attended the Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia.  The Rt. Reverend Stephen Elliot, D. D., Bishop of Georgia, ordained him deacon in Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1845, and ordained him priest, in Savannah, Georgia, in 1846.  He was married to Mary C., of Virginia.  They had two sons, E. Neville and William Kollock, and two daughters, Lilly M. Gibson, and Mrs. M. M. Raoul.  He served as minister in Clarksville, Georgia; Trinity Church, Chemeyville, Louisiana; the Emanuel Church, Opelika, Alabama; Cross Keys, Alabama; and St. Mary’s, Tallassee, Alabama.  He then served in the Diocese of Kansas.  He came to Trinity, Florence and St. John’s, Tuscumbia, in 1878.  He served from 1878 to 1882.  He went to Cynthiana, Kentucky, for one month and returned to Florence where he served until 1891.

On March 27, 1887, when the Rt. Reverend Richard Hooker Wilmer, sixth bishop of Alabama, visited Grace Church, he preached and celebrated Holy Communion in the school house.  In writing of his visit he said, “I found here quite a number of earnest church people taking active measures for the speedy erection of a church building.” (From notes written by W. T. Archer).

Lots 1 and 2, block 30, on the southeast corner of 8th Street and Nashville Avenue were purchased for the church site on February 17, 1887.  On March 28, 1887, Bishop Wilmer visited St. John’s Church, Tuscumbia; he confirmed five and celebrated Holy Communion.  The next day the bishop officiated at the same church, and the Reverend B. F. Mower presented twelve persons for confirmation.  Some were from Grace, Sheffield, but the exact number is not known.

On Whitsunday, May 20, 1888, Bishop Wilmer preached and celebrated Holy Communion in the new church (a frame building) at the 11:00 a.m. service.  At the evening service, after a sermon by Grace Church’s first rector, the Reverend DeB. Waddell, the Bishop confirmed seven:  Ogden Street, Marguerite Street, Robbie D. Hull, Wilson R. Brown, George C. Randolph, Florence White, and Annie Turpin.  These names were the first recorded in the church register.

Three churches had been built in Sheffield by this time—the Episcopal, the Methodist, and the Roman Catholic.

On May 23, 1888, at the Fifty-Seventh Annual council of the Protestant Episcopal church in the Diocese of Alabama, assembled at the Church of the Nativity, in Huntsville, the certificate of election of lay deputies to the council was presented.  R. C. Randolph, W. H. Jones, M. Thornton, H. F. Jones, and T. Turpin were duly seated to represent Grace Church, with full rights and privileges in deliberations of the council, for the first time, from the Sheffield parish.  The council made the diocesan assessments for 1888-89, and the amount to be paid by Grace Church was twenty-five dollars, being increased to thirty-five dollars the following year.

Dr. DeB. Waddell was the first rector of Grace Church.  He was in charge from January 1888 until October 1891.  His family was prominent in Sheffield’s early history.  His daughter, Mrs. Lena Waddell Proctor, was the mother of Mr. Robert P. Proctor, whose family attended Grace Church.

On April 11, 1889, Bishop Richard Wilmer confirmed a class of eight persons.  By the end of 1889, there were a total of 112 parishioners.  R. C. Randolph, W. H. Jones, W. R. Brown, W. J. Debble, and H. T. Jones were elected as lay deputies by the congregation to attend the annual Diocesan Council, held at St. Mary’s church, Birmingham, may 21-24, 1889.  The report to the council by them showed Grace church to be incorporated, well-organized and with an active Sunday School with eight teachers and officers and 34 pupils. (The above 5 paragraphs taken from a “History of Grace Church,” by W. T. Archer).

The July 2, 1889, issue of The Sheffield Enterprise carried the following summary of the Reverend Waddell’s sermon:

The congregation of Grace Episcopal church listened to a very entertaining sermon by the pastor, Rev. DeB. Waddell, Sunday evening.  The text was taken from Genesis, 3rd Chapter and 4th verse.

“And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die.”  After pointing out that this was the beginning of the second half of the church’s year, wherein we were expected to put to practical use the truths revealed in the first half, he pointed out how it was to be done.

First, we must believe those truths, not by a mere assent, not by an intellectual conviction, but by a real acceptance of those truths with mind and heart and soul.

The trouble with most people, believers and disbelievers alike, is a seeming inability to accept these truths.  Disbelievers from various causes reject altogether.  Believers only half believe.  Neither fully believes that an acceptance of the gospel is absolutely necessary to man’s salvation.

There is a lingering doubt that things are not exactly what they seem to be.

The whisperings of the serpent in the garden are yet echoing in the world of today, and causing man to believe that they will really not die, though they reject the revelation of God.

But this penalty of death must follow this rejection, as the penalty of death most certainly did follow the disregard of God’s warning in the first instance.

If we would really live, we must accept the gospel of Christ; live by it, and develop by means of the aids therein provided, the glorious fruits of the spirit in our hearts.”

By the beginning of 1890, Grace church “was accepted as an integral part of the diocese, and took its part in diocesan activities.” (“History of Grace Church” by W. T. Archer).  R. C. Randolph, W. H. Ruffin, and W.  H. Jones were elected lay deputies to represent Grace church at St. John’s Church, Montgomery, at the Annual Diocesan Council, on May 20-23.  Grace Church deputy, R. C. Randolph, was appointed to be one of the tellers in the election of an Assistant Bishop.  The Reverend J. S. Lindsey, D.D., was elected and later declined.  At this council meeting, the registrar officially acknowledged the receipt of the “Articles of Association” of the Parish of Grace Church, Sheffield, Alabama.

The following notice appeared in The Reaper, March 30, 1891, on the Monday after Easter:

The celebration of scholars of the Episcopal Sunday School, yesterday, in honor of Easter, was a perfect success.  Miss Minnie Hicks received a silver cup, being determined the best scholar.  She is a member of Miss Lena Waddell’s class.  The cup was presented by Mr. Hume F. Jones.  Speeches were made by all the scholars, and the little folks celebrated Easter in a manner befitting the day.

Another notice the same day:

The ladies of the Episcopal Church will give a supper and bazaar Thursday night, in the new hotel, for the benefit of the church.

The following biographical facts were taken from “Mississippi Biographical” by Dunbar Rowland, LLD, published in 1907:

The Reverend DeBerniere Waddell was born in Hillsboro, Chatham County, North Carolina, January 31, 1838, and was the son of Haynes and Mary (Fleming) Waddell.  Haynes Waddell was born in Brunswick County and Mary Waddell was born in Wilmington, Hanover County, North Carolina, where the respective families settled in the colonial area.  The Reverend Waddell had an excellent education; he was a student in Caldwell Institute, at Hillsboro, North Carolina.  At the beginning of the War Between the States, he enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Sixth Alabama.  He later transferred to the Fifteenth Alabama Infantry, as adjutant.  He rose to the rank of Captain of company G, and he participated in the battles of Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Knoxville, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Richmond, and others, continuing to serve until the close of the war.  After the war, he located in Russell County, Alabama, where he farmed while pursuing his divinity studies.

The Reverend DeB. Waddell was ordained deacon in the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1869, and he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Wilmer in 1873, at St. John’s Church, Montgomery (from “History of Barbour County Alabama” by Mattie Thomas Thompson, 1934; Chapter Twelve on Claudia Waddell Roberts, daughter of the Reverend DeB. Waddell).  After he was ordained priest, his first charge was Seale, Alabama.  He built churches in Union Springs, Troy, and Auburn, Alabama.  In 1887, he was called to be rector of Grace Church Sheffield, and St. John’s Church, Tuscumbia.  He took charge of Grace Church in 1888.  In 1891, he was called to the Church of the Mediator, in Meridian, Mississippi, where “he labored with all of zeal and earnestness, infusing vitality into the spiritual and temporal affairs of the parish and gaining the affectionate regard of his people.”  He also served as archdeacon of East Mississippi (History of Barbour County”).

On April 4, 1891, in The Sheffield Times:

The Grace Episcopal Church in Sheffield is in debt to the Reverend DeB. Waddell, the rector.  The members of the vestry are anxious to settle this debt, and a concert will be given in the City of Sheffield on the evening of April 15, for the above purpose.  The programme will be an attractive one, and the best musical talent of Sheffield will be engaged.  A rare musical treat is in store for all who may attend.

From “Stowe’s Clerical Directory, 1917,” the Reverend DeB. Waddell was a deputy to the General Convention in 1898.

Politically, Mr. Waddell was a staunch member of the Democratic Party; a commander of Walthall Camp, United Confederate Veterans; and a Mason—he had taken the chivalric degrees of Masonry and was grand commander of the grand commandary of Knights Templar, in Mississippi.

Mr. Waddell married Mary Bellamy, of Russell County, Alabama, on August 25, 1859.  They had eight children:  Claudia, William Bellamy, George Thurston, Eveline, Catherine Isabelle, Mary Haynes, Henry DeBerniere, and Ina Weems.

In “A List of Historical Relics Displayed in the Calvary Parish House, Tarboro, North Carolina,” by Bertrom E. Brown, 1934, Mr. Brown relates a few stories about DeBerniere Waddell.  He tells that in Clayton, Alabama, a small town near his home, there were a number of 15th Alabama men of Law’s Brigade who fought on Little Round Hill, Gettysburg.  Mr. Waddell is one he recalled.  He remembered that Mr. Waddell often played chess with his (Mr. Brown’s) grandfather.  Several times he heard the Reverend Waddell tell of the terrific struggle on the slopes of Little Round Top between the 15th Alabama and the 20th Maine.  Later, Mr. Brown met Mr. Waddell, by chance, on the “Mississippi Street of Tents” at Gettysburg, at a reunion.  Mr. Waddell remembered him, and at Mr. Brown’s request, he told the story of Little Round Top again, assisted by several 20th Maine veterans who corroborated the facts.  Sam Nash, a boyhood friend of the Reverend Waddell was at the meeting.  Brown, upon learning that Mr. Waddell had been born in Hillsboro and that he knew Sam Nash, prevailed upon Mr. Waddell to let him arrange a meeting between these two childhood friends.  Brown recalls, “You may imagine what a tender meeting that was!”

In a book written by Colonel Oates, the Colonel said, “Dr. Waddell was the bravest man in his regiment and the most religious.”  In the same regiment with Dr. Waddell was an Irishman named Pat Brannon, “the best poker-player in the whole brigade.  He won so many rations from the other men that they could hardly fight from hunger.”  Colonel Oates asked DeBerniere Waddell to “take him (Pat Brannon) in hand.”  Waddell exercised such a good influence over him that after the war Brannon went to Texas became a Roman Catholic Priest, and when he died, he was considered the most saintly and beloved man in that State.

The Reverend Waddell died September 1, 1924.

The Sheffield Times ran the following on May 30, 1891:

Orange blossoms, crushed roses, violets and lilies.  Two hearts with but a single thought.  Cards are out announcing the life partnership of Dr. W. E. Proctor and Miss Lena Waddell.  The big event will be solemnized at Grace Episcopal Church Wednesday night.  Everyone in Sheffield who know the charming bride, who is to be, and the “lucky dog” of a bridegroom, with one voice gives his blessing, “Happy, happy, happy pair.”

The Sheffield Times recorded the marriage, on June 6, 1891, in this highly embellished description:




For some weeks society and friends have been anticipating an event always of interest, but especially interesting in this case—a marriage.

The event occurred Wednesday evening when Dr. William E. Proctor and Miss Lena Waddell assumed the happy relationship of man and wife.  This young couple has always been great favorites in Sheffield society and among acquaintances.  Grace Church where, the rites were solemnized was crowded almost to suffocation long before the happy couple and their attendants arrived at the church.  There was not standing room and may parties contented themselves with lingering on the outside with an occasional look at the beautiful decorated interior.  The church indeed was a bower of beauty.  Roses, evergreens, magnolias, geraniums, pot plants in pyramids and festoons of flowers with their marvelous beauty of arrangement and delivered perfume made the evening even of itself, one long to be remembered with delight.

Over the chancel rail was an arch of evergreens and magnolias entwined, and suspended from the center an anchor of snow-white hollyhocks.  The grave notes of the organ pealed forth Mendelsshon’s wedding march and the ceremonies that followed were elegant.  Proceeded by two children, the bridesmaids prettily attired alternately in blue and pink, the ten groomsmen and the six ushers marched down the aisle, and meeting the bride at the entrance, returned to the chancel.  The bride was tastily dressed in white silk, with a long flowing veil ornamented with orange blossoms.  At the chancel the ceremonies were exceedingly impressive.  Reverend Dr. DeB. Waddell, the father of the bride, performing the marriage rite.

After the ceremony, the wedding party proceeded to the residence of Dr. Waddell, where a reception was held and a wedding supper enjoyed.  The happy couple left on a wedding tour for Lookout Mountain and other points in Tennessee on the early morning train accompanied by the best wishes of all who know them.

The following were the parties participating on this delightful occasion:

Among the attendants was Mr. Louis Proctor, brother of the groom, who acted as his best man.  Mr. Will Waddell who gave the bride away.


Mr. Frank Kehl, Miss Mamie Waddell

Mr. J. R. Coleman, Miss Hattie Proctor

Mr. Robert Chapman, Mrs. Kate Chapman

Mr. Granville Coleman, Miss Rose Flautt

Mr. W. H. Ruffin, Miss Hattie Brumbach

Mr. W. D. Brown, Miss Lillie Fitzjarrell

Mr. W. N. Vaught, Miss Kate Roulhac

Mr. George V. Donnell, Miss Alice Belser

Mr. Jo. V. Allen, Miss Glaso

Mr. Jarius Collins, Miss Dasie Randolph

The organist was Mr. Wilbur F. Haygood.



Mrs. Julia Erwin Roulhac is considered one of the early members who helped to establish the Episcopal Church in this community.  When the need arose, she often held Sunday school in her home.  In an article published in The Muscle Shoals Sun, November 16, 1924, by Mrs. Leila C. Alleyn (wife of Mr. Charles J. Alleyn, who later became rector of Grace Church) said that her (Mrs. Roulhac’s) faith never faltered through the church’s various vicissitudes.  She said that Mrs. Roulhac held together the Ladies guild and the Sunday school.  Mrs. Roulhac was the grandmother of Mrs. Julia Cooke Isbell and miss Katherine Cooke, and the great grandmother of Mrs. Katherine Isbell Garn and Mr. Barton Isbell.

The Reverend B. F. Mower died February 1891.  With the death of Mr. Mower and the transfer of the Reverend DeB. Waddell to the Diocese of Mississippi, Grace Church experienced the first break in the line of ministers who would serve this parish.  Grace Church was left without a clerical delegate to the Annual Diocesan Council in Mobile, may 3-7, 1892.  No lay delegates were elected.


In October 1891, after the Reverend Waddell left, Mr. Hume F. Jones was appointed lay reader.  The vestry included R. C. Randolph, senior warden and treasurer; Walter F. Jones, junior warden and secretary; Hume F. Jones; J. P. Lee; J. D. Watkins; W. S. White; and John Law.

On October 12, 1891, the Reaper ran the notice:

The Daughters of the Faith, of the Episcopal Church will give an oyster supper Wednesday night.  Be sure to attend and help the young ladies in their endeavor.


The Harvest Home

“The festival of Harvest Home will be celebrated on Thanksgiving Day at Grace Episcopal Church.  All who desire to help the poor are requested to send provisions of any sort; groceries, clothing, fruits, coal and wood—the same to turned over to the Benefit Association immediately after service—for distribution.”

The contributors not being confined to this church, it is hoped there will be a hearty response for this most worthy cause.

Everyone is invited to attend this beautiful and appropriate service.  The church will be decorated by the Daughters of the Faith, who will be glad to receive the contributions between 9 and 10 o’clock on the morning of Thanksgiving Day.

In 1892, the vestry elected was: R. C. Randolph, senior warden; H. F. Jones, junior warden; W. H. Ruffin; W.R. Brown; and John Law.  The Reverend Joe T. Berne took charge as rector of Grace Church, March 1892, and remained in charge only two months.  He severed relationship because of the illness of his wife, and returned to his home in Arkansas.  Dr. William Edwin Evans read the service twice a month, beginning the latter part of June 1892.

In “Gathering UP Our Sheaves with Joy,” compiled by Mary Holland Lancaster, 1976, the following information is found about Dr. Evans.  He was born July 11, 1851, in Baltimore, Maryland.  He was the son of William Henry Evans and Elizabeth Hooe Yeatman.  He graduated from Randolph-Macon College, June 29, 1871, with distinction.  He was married to Mary Trippe Beckwith, who was from Dorchester County, Maryland.  They had four children—Ethel Hope, Henrietta Beckwith, William Edwin, and Mary Corner.  He was a Methodist minister, and he served the following pastorates from 1871 to 1892: Cambridge, Maryland; Bowling Green and Essex County, Virginia; Ashland, Richmond, Petersburg, Farmville, and Norfolk, Virginia.  He was ordained deacon at Trinity Church, Florence, on December 16, 1892, by Bishop Coadjutor Henry Melville Jackson of, Alabama.  This was the first ordination of a deacon at Trinity.  On January 15, 1893, he was ordained priest by the Rt. Reverend Richard Hooker Wilmer, of Alabama.  The service was held at St. John’s Church, Montgomery, Alabama.

The Reverend William Edwin Evans was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, founder and editor of The Advent Herald (a parish paper of the Church of the Advent, Birmingham).  He wrote books, “the Era and the Man” and “Henry VIII” plus numerous feature stories.

The Lauderdale Gazette praised him as an able preacher and care-taking pastor, when he came to take charge of Trinity Church.  The State Newspaper, of Richmond, declared him to be one of the ablest and most attractive Devines ever stationed in Richmond.

The Lauderdale Gazette reported in 1893, that Dr. Evans received a call to go to Saint Michaels’ and All Angels’ Church, Anniston, Alabama.


Chapter 3

The Reverend Peter Wager

On October 17, 1893, the vestry of Grace Church called the Reverend Peter Wager as rector, and October 23, 1893, he accepted the call in connection with St. John’s, and Trinity, Florence.

The Reverend Peter Wager was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 26, 1834.  His parents were James Bates and Mary Ann Wager.  He was ordained priest in 1877 by Bishop Richard Hooker Wilmer, of Alabama.  He married Elizabeth Woods, of Memphis, Tennessee.  They had two daughters and a son, Llewellyn.  Peter Wager was minister at St. John’s, Buntyn and Otey Chapel, Tennessee, from 1871 to 1873.  He was missionary to Trinity Church, Florence, Alabama, and St. John’s, Tuscumbia, Alabama, from 1873 to 1877.  He served in Kirksville, Missouri, 1881-1882, and served as missionary in Salina, Kansas, for 1882 to 1886, and in West Virginia from 1891 to 1893.  He was assigned once more to the diocese of Alabama from 1894 to 1897, to Grace Church, Sheffield, and St. John’s, Tuscumbia.  He was rector of St. John’s, Buntyn, and Holy Trinity, Memphis, from 1901 to 1914.  He died December 23, 1917.  Biographical facts from “Gathering Up Our Sheaves with Joy” by Mary Lancaster, 1976.

According to the Florence Gazette, the Reverend Peter Wager was an eloquent speaker, and when he delivered his last sermon (January 6, 1878) there, his congregation “was exceedingly attentive and at its close many eyes were suffused with tears.”

Grace Episcopal Church was struck by lightning July 5, 1894, and burned to the ground.  Not even a hymnal was saved.  According to an article in the Florence Times, July 7, “it was a neat little church and its destruction will fall heavily on the congregation who will find great difficulty in rebuilding.  There was no insurance.”

After the fire, the congregation met and had services in the Montgomery Block, on Montgomery Avenue.  (This is the block between Fourth and Fifth Streets.)  Captain W. S. White provided a room, which was set up for services.  The Sunday after the fire the room was open for Sunday school.  On Thanksgiving Day, all outstanding debts had been paid and the mortgages were burned.

The church register shows only one baptism in 1895, in “church rooms.”  No other baptisms are recorded until 1897.

Under “Personals” in The Reaper, February 15, May 16, and May 19, 1896, the following notices were posted:

“Pinafore” tonight at the opera house for the benefit of Grace Episcopal Church.  The young ladies and gentlemen who compose the “crew” of Her Majesties Ship Pinafore have made quite a reputation as good “sailors” and singers.  If you want to enjoy a few hours pleasantly, go and hear “Pinafore.”

May 16, 1896

The helpers of Grace Episcopal Church will give an ice cream supper Tuesday night, may 19, in the Montgomery Block.

May 19, 1896

Have been selling a bookmark with a sweet poem thereon; they have thus been able to send Bibles to far away countries—a noble work.

Chapter 4

Dr. Tillius C. Tupper served Grace Church in 1896.  From “Lloyd’s Clerical Directory, 1913,” page 309, the following facts were learned:  He obtained his Doctor of Divinity from the University of Arkansas; he attended the University of Mississippi, and Nashotah House; he was ordained deacon in 1873 and priest in 1874 by Bishop Green.  He was Chaplain U. S. P. Atlanta 1902.  He served the Episcopal Church in Sardis, Como, and Batesville, Mississippi, in 1873-1875.  He was at Christ Church, Little Rock, Arkansas, 1875-1885; he was at St. Paul, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1886-90; St. Phillips, Atlanta, Georgia, 1891-92.  He lectured from 1892-96; he served at St. Thomas, Somerville, Tennessee, 1896-97; St. John’s, Tuscumbia, Alabama, 1897 (at which time he served Grace, Sheffield); Christ Church, Portsmouth, Ohio, 1898; was chaplain of the 5th Georgia regiment of the National Guards, 1900-01; rector of Calvary Church, Americus, Georgia and Christ Church, Cordele, Georgia, 1900.  He was the assistant at St. Luke, Atlanta, Georgia, 1901.

Tullius C. Tupper died July 27, 1915.


Chapter 5

The Reverend Henry Kingham

In July 1897, the Reverend Henry Kingham was sent by Bishop Wilmer to take charge of the Sheffield, and Tuscumbia congregations, in connection with Trinity, Florence.  During Kingham’s tenure, the building of the Northern Presbyterian Church, on Annapolis Avenue, was purchased by Grace Church for one-thousand dollars (May 12, 1899).  On November 9, 1901, lot 6 block 29, on the northeast corner of Montgomery Avenue, was purchased for a church site.  A brick church was completed in 1903, and the church on Annapolis Avenue was sold to the Church of Christ.  This congregation modified and enlarged the structure, which they still use for worship today (1994).  The church on Montgomery Avenue served the congregation of Grace Church for 60 years.  This building was sold to the First Christian Church—Disciples of Christ, 700 North Wood Avenue, Florence.  It now (1992) belongs to a Baptist fellowship.

The following four paragraphs contain biographical data taken form “Gathering Up Our Sheaves with Joy,” by Mary Lancaster, 1976.  The Reverend Henry Kingham was born in the parish of Ellesborough, Buckinghamshire, England.  His parents were Joshua and Sarah Kingham.  He was educated at Christ Church School, Luton, Berfordshire, and St. Paul’s College, Canterbury, and studied medicine and surgery for a year and a half.  He passed Cambridge preliminary examinations for entrance into the ministry of the Church of England in 1887 and graduated the same year.

He was ordained deacon and priest in Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, British Columbia, in 1887 and 1889, respectively.  He served there as curate from 1887 to 1891.  After that, he served in Geat Falls, Montana; LaCrosse, Wisconsin; and West Orange, New Jersey, before coming to Alabama.  He held a service in Sheffield every Sunday during his tenure.

The Reverend Henry Kingham married Mildred Burnett of Newark, New Jersey, April 26, 1901, at the home of the bride’s parents.  The account of the wedding in the Newark Daily Advertiser described the wedding as an elaborate and elegant affair.  Mr. Kingham, according to the July 7, 1899, issue of the Florence Times, bought one-third interest in a seventy-eight foot lot on the southeast corner of Court and Tuscaloosa Streets, for $333.00.  Stone, brick, etc. from the old Lauderdale cotton Mill were used to build a house.  The building had additions to the back and front of the original structure; it still stands.  Recent occupants have been Rahner’s Book and Music Shop, Culpepper’s bakery, and H. R. Block and Company, etc.

The Reverend Kingham resigned his rectorship at Trinity on November 25, 1901.  He and his wife moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he died May 24, 1904, The Florence Herald carried the following story:

Mr. Kingham was much loved here.  He was an Englishman by birth, a highly intellectual and cultured gentleman.  He showed very strongly those characteristics of manner and thought for which his countrymen are so well known, but his sincerity, honesty and earnestness, none could question.  He had many friends in Florence, who will sincerely grieve to hear of his untimely death.

The following was excerpted from page 104 of the report of the Sixty-Ninth Annual Council of the Diocese of Alabama.



Minister: Reverend Henry Kingham                                       Wardens: Mr. Loudly,

Treasurer: Mrs. Roulhac                                                                           Mr. Crittenden


Parishioners.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 78                                                           Receipts

Families  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    .  .  .  .  .  .   23                                From all sources.  .  .  .  .  .  . .$209.00

Confirmed Persons  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   48                                                       Disbursements

Marriages  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1                               Dom. & foreign Missions  .  .       5.00

Burials  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    4                               Diocesan Missions  .   .  .  .  .  .      1.25

Celebration Holy C  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   14                               Diocesan Assessment  .  .  .  .  .    10.00

Number of Services  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   40                              Rector’s Salary  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      90.00

Sunday School:     Teachers  5                                                Rector’s Travel Exp.  .  .  .  .  .       56.00

Pupils  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    45                              Other Parochial purposes  .  .  .  .   46.50

Total Disbursements  .  .  .  .  .    $209.11


Value of the Church Property, $3,500; Insurance, $1,500;

Number of Buildings used for Public Worship, 1;

Total number of sittings, 180; of which 180 are free.

Method of Support: Subscriptions and Diocesan Missions.

An entry in the Grace Church register, dated July 22, 1900, disclosed that a meeting of the congregation was called to devise means of calling a rector.  Grace church was losing its members.  It was having difficulties since Mr. Kingham had left.  On July 22, 1900, the following were elected to the vestry: Mr. Crittenden, senior warden; Mr. Bumford, junior warden; Dr. Ashe, Mr. Dudley, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Bond.  For three years there had been no vestry; the Ladies Guild had been attending to the business of the church.


Chapter 6

The Reverend Richard V. Hogue

Rectors who served Grace Church after the Reverend Henry Kingham were: the Reverend Richard W. Hogue, the Reverend Raimundo de Ovies, 1902-05; the Rev. W.B. Allen; the Reverend Joseph H. Harvey, 1910-11; the Reverend E. H. J. Andrews, 1908-11; the Reverend C. L. Price, 1923.  All of the above except the Reverend W. B. Allen, the Reverend Joseph H. Harvey, and the Reverend Richard W. Hogue served Trinity.  The Reverend de Ovies served Trinity during 1902 while they were without a rector.

Lay readers during this period from 1900 to 1923 were Dr. W. E. Evans, 1892-95; George E. Saywell, Sr., 1896-1906; W. T. Archer, 1907-1914; and W. S. Hatch.  There was no record from 1915-1921.  In 1922, the Rt. Reverend Charles Minnegerode Beckwith appointed Mr. Charles J. Alleyn, and in 1925, he appointed Mr. W. T. Archer.  These two men acted as lay readers until Mr. Alleyn was ordained priest.  Mr. Archer performed this duty when necessary until 1958.  (Record kept by W. T. Archer).

Mr. Ray Black was appointed Lay Reader in 1941, and he served in this capacity until 1954; others appointed in the 1950’s  were:  A. L. Clark, L. C. Salter, Frank Potter, and P. N. Perkins.

The Reverend Richard W. Hogue was born in Marion, Alabama, July 17, 1876.  He was the son of Cyruse Dunlap Hogue and Mary Anne (Brown).  He attended Marion Military Academy and the University of the South, Sewanee, where he received his B. A. degree in 1897.  He was ordained deacon in 1899 by Bishop Wilmer and was ordained priest in 1900 by Bishop Barnwell.  He married Betty Coleman Young, November 12, 1900.  He was rector of Grace Church, Sheffield, 1900-01.  He was rector of St. James Church, Wilmington, North Carolina, 1902-08.

The Reverend Mr. Hogue was chaplain at Chapel of the Cross, University of North Carolina, Chapel hill, North Carolina, 1908-11.  He was the rector of the Church of the Ascension in Baltimore, Maryland 1911-15 and Director of the Open Forum, 1915; he was executive secretary of the Church League for Industrial Democracy, 1919.  He was the author of three books, “What Think Ye of Christ,” “the Call of the Ministry to Young Men.” (Y.M.C.A. Press, New York, N.Y.), and “The Church and the Crowd” (Fleming H. Revell Co).  The above data about Mr. Hogue was from “Stowe’s Clerical Directory, 1924.


Chapter 7

The Reverend Raimundo Jorge Garcia deOvies

The Reverend Raimundo Jorge Garcia deOvies, who served Grace Church from 1902 until 1905, was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Count Julian Segundo deOvies and Eleanor Cassidy.  Count deOvies was secretary and treasurer of the North American Trading Company, and commissioner and consul to the United States from the government of Chile.  Mr. DeOvies was educated at Boston Latin School, University of the South Academy, and the University of the south theological Seminary, Sewanee, Tennessee.  His degrees were Doctor of Literature, Doctor of Law, and Doctor of Divinity.  He served several churches in Alabama, returned to Sewanee as chaplain, then became dean of the Cathedral of Saint Philip, Atlanta, Georgia.  He was the author of three books:  “Somewhere to Be Had,” “The Church and the Children,” and “Maybe You’re not Crazy.” (from “Gathering Up Our Sheaves with Joy” by Mary Lancaster.)

He married Miss Elizabeth Eggleston DuBose, of Sewanee, in the old St. Augustine Chapel of the University, while he was priest in Sheffield.  They had two children.

The Reverend deOvies served Trinity Church, in Florence, in 1902.  He was rector of Saint John’s, Ensley, Alabama, and priest-in-charge of Saint Andrew’s Mission, Birmingham, Alabama, from 1904-1912.  He was rector of Saint Paul’s Church, Greensboro, Alabama, from 1912 to 1914, and he was rector of Trinity Church, Clarksville, Tennessee, from 1914 to 1919.  He was rector of Trinity Church, Galveston, Texas, from 1919 to 1927.  He served as chaplain of the University of the South from 1927 to 1929.  He then became Dean of the Cathedral of Saint Philip, Atlanta, Georgia where he served in that capacity until 1947.  In 1947 he was made Dean emeritus and he retained this title until his death August 30, 1962. (From “Gathering Up Our Sheaves with Joy” by Mary Lancaster).

Mr. DeOvies was ordained deacon in 1902 by the Right Reverend Woodward Barnwell, Bishop of Alabama.  He was ordained priest, September 14, 1903, by the Right Reverend Charles Minnegerode Beckwith.  In the October 1903 issue of The Church (Diocesan paper, published in Montgomery), an article is written:

He was presented by the Reverend H. W. Jones, and the sermon was preached by the Reverend James G. Glass, rector of Grace Church, Anniston.  Mr. DeOvies attended the Theological Department at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, where he was also a student in the Academic Department.  Since his ordination to the Deaconate, a little over a year ago, he has had charge of the work in Sheffield and Tuscumbia.

The following article was written for the October 1903 Church Record Supplement:

When the present missionary took charge there was nothing but a pile of building material and the foundation of a church, with a communicant list of not over thirty active members—none of them rich—upon whom to call for funds.  At this writing a handsome structure of pressed brick and free stone has been used several months of services.  There are no windows and only temporary doors, but there is a complete furnishing for the interior, good pews, altar, lectern, pulpit, etc., and everything conducive to dignity and comfort.  Since the first of last January, the Ladies’ Guild has raised, by work and subscriptions, an average of $100.00 a month.  Surely creditable out of a membership of barely forty-two communicants.  There is a debt of about $1,700.00 to be raised within the next five years, which can be accomplished easily if the present interest and faithful work continues.  There have been no additions to the communicant list by confirmation for many reasons.  For months and months the missionary felt elated if he had the unusually large number of fifteen in the congregation; and so his chief work has been to awaken more interest and give the Church a better position in the eyes of the community.  This has been done, and an ever increasing congregation promises candidates in the near future.  Every credit is due the ladies and a few members of the Building Committee (Mr. J. R. Coleman especially) for the progress made.

Another article in 1903 in The Church Record read as follows:

What threatened to be an epidemic of smallpox has closed the Churches and schools in Sheffield, and put an end to all public meetings of every kind.

Grace Church is richer by two fine double doors—the gift of Mr. J. R. Coleman, and stoves and windows, which have made the building comfortable for the winter.  Mr. Richard Hill donated the stoves and piping; and the Women’s Guild gave the windows.  Plans are on foot for finishing the interior of the Church.

The ladies have already in the treasury $125.00 toward the church debt and have taken an obligation to raise the full amount for this year ($384.00) before the first of August.

Records show that the church on Montgomery Avenue was finished in 1903.

In 1904, Mr. DeOvies conducted a mission in Mount Olivet Parish, Algiers, Louisiana.  The report if it ran in The Church Record early in 1905 as follows:

Beginning on the Sunday next before Advent, December 20th the Reverend Raimundo deOvies conducted a very successful Mission in Mount Olivet Parish, Algiers, for twelve days.  Each day there was a celebration of the Holy Communion at 7:00 a.m.  Morning Prayer or Litany at 8:15 a.m., and at 7:30 p.m., Evening Prayer and sermon.  The attendance began to increase from the first, and towards the close of the Mission nearly every seat was taken.

After the service on Thursday night the congregation gave a surprise party at the residence of the rector to the Reverend Mr. DeOvies.  Refreshments, consisting of chocolate and cakes were served, and then came the surprise of the evening when Mr. George Koppel in the name of the congregation, presented the Missioner with an envelope containing fifty dollars in bills.

The Reverend Mr. DeOvies is a very magnetic speaker, holding the attention of the audience from the first, and impressing them with his earnestness, and by the simplicity of his speech and clearness of illustration bringing home to every one the meaning of the thought he wished to convey.  No one has been more talked of than he in the streets of Algiers, and although there was a big Mission being held at the Roman Catholic Church quite a number of them came to our services. (In The Church Record, 1905, Grace Church listed as parish).

June 1, 1905 –“The Churches—Episcopal

Sunday School and Lay services were conducted at the Episcopal Church last Sunday morning.  Mr. J. E. Saywell the Lay Reader was in charge of the regular 11 o’clock service.  Next Sunday morning at the 11 o’clock service a report will be made of the work of the recent Diocesan Convention, in Anniston.

June 15, 1905 – “Successful Lawn Social”

The lawn social given Tuesday night for the benefit of the Episcopal Church netted a neat sum.  The members raised commendable interest in the affair and the general public patronized it liberally.  Mrs. Thomas R. Roulhac, the prime mover of the entertainment deserves credit for her indefatigable work.

July 20, 1905 –from Meridian Episcopal

Reverend DeB Waddell visited his daughter, Mrs. W. E. Proctor and son, W. B. Waddell. Preached to a large congregation on “Joseph the Dreamer.”

August 31, 1905

Mr. Mark Levy, of London, England, who for many years has been a Jewish follower of Jesus Christ the Messiah, and who is now a member of the Reverend R.W. Hogue’s church at Wilmington, North Carolina, will speak at Grace Episcopal church on Sunday morning and night on “The Gospel of Christ and The Customs of Israel.”  And “The Revelation of the Messiah and the Trinity in the Old Testament.”  Mr. Levy states that Jews who follow Christ do not cease to be Jews and many still observe Israel’s National and Social Holidays.

October 19, 1905 – “Episcopal News”

Last Sunday morning at the Episcopal Church the rector, the Reverend E. G. Baird, preached an interesting sermon, taking for his text, “the Rich Young ruler.”

Services next Sunday will be as follows: Sunday school at 10 a.m.; Morning Prayer and Sermon at 11 a.m.  Sermon subject will be “Perfect Love.”  Tomorrow, Friday, the choir will practice.  A full attendance of members is requested.

November 30, 1905

At the Episcopal Church last Sunday there was Holy Communion at 7:30 a.m., with Morning Prayer and Sermon at 11 a.m.  The rector, the Reverend E. G. Baird preached an interesting sermon and instructive sermon from the text, “The Folly of Watching the Clouds.”

Thanksgiving service on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m., conducted by the Reverend Mr. Harris, Florence.  On Sunday morning next Morning Prayer and sermon by Mr. Saywell.  On Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Evening Prayer and sermon by E. G. Baird.  A cordial invitation is extended to all to attend these services.  Choir practice on Friday evening at home of Mr. Coleman, Montgomery Avenue.

Mr. E. G. Baird attended convocation of Brotherhood of St. Andrew’s in Memphis, November 1905.

December 1905 – The Churches

At the Episcopal Church last Sunday morning lay services were conducted by Mr. G.E. Saywell in the absence of the rector, the Rev. E.J. Baird who held services in Tuscumbia.  At 7:30 o’clock p.m., there was evening prayer and sermon.  Reverend Baird preaching on “thanksgiving and Thanks Living.”

Services next Sunday will be as follows:  Sunday school at 10 a.m., Litany, Holy Communion and sermon at 11 a.m.  Subject, “The Analogy Between a Christian and a Tree.”  All are especially invited.

There will be choir practice Friday evening at 7:30 o’clock at the home of Mr. J.R. Coleman.  All members are urged to be present to practice for the choral communion service.

December 21, 1905

Last Sunday at the 11 o’clock service the Reverend E.J. Baird preached on the “Good Shepherd” and presented some beautiful thoughts from the lesson.

Next Sunday morning at 11 there will be a special Christmas service.  The church will be prettily decorated, and the choir will render specially prepared music.  The subject of the Reverend Baird’s sermon will be “God’s Best gift.”  All are cordially invited to attend this service.

January 4, 1906

Last Sunday morning, the rector, Reverend E.J. Baird delivered an interesting discourse on thoughts suggested by the New Year.

Services next Sunday will be as follows:  Sunday school at 10 a.m., Morning Prayer and sermon at 11.  There will also be an evening service in the church at 7:30, conducted by the Reverend Newell Joyner, of Bolivar, Tennessee.  A cordial invitation is extended to all to attend these services.

January 11, 1906

In the absence of the Reverend E. J. Baird service was conducted by Mr. G. E. Saywell.  At 7:30 p.m. the Reverend Newell Joyner of Bolivar, Tennessee preached from the text “Freely You Have Received, Freely Give.”  Reverend Joyner’s is a forceful speaker and his sermon was highly instructive.

February 1, 1906

The rector, Reverend E.J. Baird, preached his farewell sermon last Sunday morning, taking for his subject the “Insufficiencies of Man, the all Sufficiency of God.”  The sermon was highly instructive, the minister dealing with the text in an able manner.

The Reverend E.J. Baird left this morning for Jersey City, where he will become the rector of the Church of the Ascension, having received a call there several weeks ago.  Reverend Baird carries with him the best wishes of the members of the Episcopal Church, whom he served as rector for several months past.  He is a young minister of unusual ability and it is but natural that he should be called to a larger field of opportunities.

Masquerade Social

Mardi Gras Not Allowed to Pass Unnoticed in Sheffield

The Masquerade Social given Tuesday night at the Sheffield Hotel by the Ladies Guild and Vestry of Grace Episcopal was well patronized and proved a delightful event being the last of the pre-Lenten festivities, in Sheffield.

There were Masqueraders of all kinds on hand vying for prizes offered for the best costumes.

The grand march took place shortly after 9 o’clock and was led by Mr. Erwin Johnston with Miss Hattie Mai Sadler.  The judges were Messrs J.B. Spruance, Sam C. Cooke, and Charles Dowd, and it took them some time to decide upon the maskers entitled to the prizes, as there were so many entitled to consideration in this regard.  However, after mature deliberation they awarded the ladies’ prize, a coke plate, to Miss Emma White, who was attired in the costume of a cowboy.  The gentlemen’s prize fell to the lot of Mr. J.E. Jacks, who appeared as an awkward overgrown country boy, in knee trousers.  It was a silver-mounted hat brush.  These prizes were donated by the Ladies Guild.  Miss Margaret Proctor won the girls’ prize, her costume representing the colonial period.  The prize was a fine box of candy donated by R.W. Butler and Company.  Master Jeptha Blake, who represented an old Negro washer man, was given the boys’ prize, a handsome fountain pen, donated by Mr. L. P. Hebard.

After the March, refreshments were served.  It was a late hour when the social came to an end.

March 8, 1906

The Rt. Reverend C.M. Beckwith, D,D., Bishop of Alabama, will hold confirmation services at Trinity Church, Florence, on Sunday morning, March 11, at 11 o’clock, and will preach in Grace Episcopal Church on the evening of the same day, at 7:30 p.m.  All are invited.  There will be no services at Grace Episcopal Church in the morning in order to give the congregations an opportunity of attending confirmation services in Florence.

March 15, 1906

Bishop C.M. Beckwith, of Episcopal Diocese of Alabama visited the Tri-Cities Sunday and Monday, confirming classes in Florence, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia.

Sunday morning he preached at Trinity and confirmed a class of eight, including Mayor Walter and wife.  Sunday Night he preached in Sheffield on the unity of the churches.  The rites of Confirmation were administered to three candidates—Mrs. Charles F. Hogue, and Misses Lucy Howard and Margaret Proctor.

Monday night the Bishop confirmed two candidates at the Episcopal Church, Tuscumbia.

August 9, 1906

Grace Church has secured a rector in the person of Reverend Mr. Allen, who will arrive sometime in September.  Reverend Allen will move his family here and will reside on Nashville Avenue.

September 13, 1906

The Reverend Balcher Allen, M.A., of Pulaski, Tennessee, has been appointed by the Bishop of Alabama to take charge of Grace Church and held two services on Sunday September 16, Morning service—celebrated of Holy Communion at 11.  Evening services—prayer and sermon at 8 o’clock

October 4, 1906

Sermon, “The Living Christ


Chapter 8

The Reverend W. B. Allen

The Reverend W. B. Allen took charge of Grace Church in 1906.  He served until 1909.  The following information is from “Stowe’s Clerical Directory,” 1938, page 4:

The Reverend William Balcher Allen was born in Harrow, England, May 30, 1867.  He was the son of Robert John Richens Allen and Emily Sophia (Allen).  He attended Church School in England and the University College, Reading, England; Harriman, Tennessee, Arts; American University where he was ordained deacon in 1904 and priest in 1905 by Bishop Gailor.  He married Frances Turner in 1905.  He was general missionary, Harriman, Tennessee; was rector of Holy Trinity, Nashville, Tennessee; Holy comforter, Gadsden, Alabama; St. Paul, Newport News, Virginia; Archdeacon, West Florida; St. Katharine’s, Pensacola, Florida; general missionary, diocese of Ashville, North Carolina; St. Michael’s, Tucumcari, New Mexico; Dean, St. John’s Cathedral, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1922; rector Christ Church, Holly Springs, Mississippi; rector, Church of the Resurrection and student advisor at Mississippi College, Starkville, Mississippi, 1927.  The Reverend Allen retired in Starkville, Mississippi, 1938.  He died May 28, 1938.

The following was taken from the Grace Church Parish magazine:


Oct 11, 1906

Allen preached on “Conditions of a Successful Christian Life” at night: Blind Bartimeus”

October 18, 1906

“Christian Manliness” special service for men in the evening.  Organized Brotherhood of St. Andrew Tuesday, Officers: Director, Erwin Roulhac; Vice-Director, W.T. Archer; Secretary Treasurer, L.H. Reynolds.

“Grace Church is in a very prosperous condition and the outlook is exceedingly encouraging.”

November 1906

Grace Episcopal Church, through energetic efforts of its rector, is in a very prosperous condition.  A monthly magazine will be published for the moral, intellectual and religious welfare of the church.

Topic the next Sunday, “Saving the Soul”

Grace Church is pronounced by everybody to be the prettiest church in town.  The congregation have raised nearly $900 for much need improvements, viz: new heating apparatus, a beautiful chancel window, handsome altar furnishings, brass cross, Eucharistic and vesper lights, musical stand, new carpet, choir room rector’s study, painting (inside and out), electric lights installed, etc., etc.  This large sum of money has been raised by the free will offerings of our people in about three months without resorting to any questionable methods, i.e., bazaars, ice cream parlors, and so forth.  Under the wise leadership of its rector there is undoubtedly a great future before Grace church in this community.

In the diocesan paper, The Church Record, 1906, the following report was given:

Sheffield, Grace Church, Reverend W. B. Allen, Rector: The congregations at all services are very encouraging, and on the increase.  We have received two memorials during the past few months, viz: two very large and fine brass altar vases, and a ciborium (cut glass with silver lid), and a very beautiful and magnificent window with a figure of the Annunciation.  The Bishop visited Tuscumbia and Sheffield last week, and preached to good congregations strong, forceful sermons.  A girl was confirmed in Tuscumbia.  The ladies of Grace Church are working most energetically for their annual Bazaar to be held December 17th, and 18th.

We have commenced preparing for the Reverend Mr. Matthew’ visit for a 10 days’ mission.  Am thoroughly canvassing the community and hope and pray for great blessing upon the Parish, and community as a result.  This is a splendid field for good, aggressive Missionary work.

In March 1908, The Church Record carried the following notice:

The Reverend William B. Allen, Rector of this Church (Sheffield-Grace Church), has accepted a call to the Rectorship of the Church of the Holy Comforter, Gadsden, and entered upon his ministry there the latter part of last month.

Two very beautiful memorials have been placed in the Church since Christmas Day: a handsome memorial window, subject, “The Annunciation,” and a beautiful Litany Desk, the gift of Mr. G.E. Saywell.


Chapter 9

The Reverend Joseph H. Harvey

The Reverend Joseph H. Harvey served Grace Church from 1910 to 1912.  According to “Stowe’s clerical Directory, 1953,” (p. 157), he was born in Meridian, Mississippi, June 24, 1876, the son of William Harvey and Mary (Anthony).  He attended the University of the South, at Sewanee, 1903-09.  He was ordained deacon in February 1910 and priest, in October 1910 by Bishop Beckwith.  He married Delia Duggar Fischer, June 24, 1910.  He then came to Grace Church, Sheffield, where he served Grace Church and Saint John’s, Tuscumbia, Alabama.  He went from Sheffield, to St. Paul’s Church, Mexico, Missouri, where he stayed until 1913.  He was missionary in charge of Saint Augustine’s Mission, St. Louis, Missouri, from 1913-17.  He was rector of Saint Peter’s Church, Pittsburgh, Kansas, 1917-19; Curate at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, Missouri, 1919, and Assistant City Inst. 1920-24.  He was rector of Saint Peter’s, Talladega, Alabama, form 1924-36; was missionary in charge of Saint Mark’s Church, Troy, and Saint Mary’s, Andalusia, Alabama, 1936-39.  He was vicar at Saint John’s Church, Bainbridge, and Holy Trinity Church, Blakely Georgia, 1939-42.  He was Vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Boswell, New Mexico, 1942-43 and rector of the same form 1943-1950.  He was Vicar of St. Paul’s Church Artesia, New Mexico, 1942-48.  He was secretary for St. Louis Clergy, 1914-17; he was on the Diocesan Board for Religious Education, 1916-17; secretary for Church School Religious Instruction 1916-17; Diocesan Secretary, N.W.C., Missouri; Assistant Secretary Diocese of Alabama, 1925-26; Dean Pecos Deanery, District, New Mexico, 1943-49; and Assistant Secretary, District of New Mexico 1947-49.  The Reverend Harvey died August 9, 1957.

The following is taken from a copy of The Church Record in 1910:

The Reverend Joseph H. Harvey, who has been Deacon-in-Charge of Grace Church, Sheffield, and St. John’s, Tuscumbia, since last February, was advanced to the Priesthood by the Bishop of the Diocese, on Sunday, October 30th, in Grace Church, Sheffield.

The service began at ten o’clock and lasted over two hours, as there was a Confirmation Service, and also the Administration of Holy communion at the same time.

The candidate was presented by the Reverend Joseph J. Cornish of St. John’s, New Decatur, Dean of the Convocation of Huntsville, who also read the Litany, and Gospel.  The Reverend Cary Gamble of Church of the Nativity, Huntsville, who also read the Litany, and Gospel. The Reverend Cary Gamble of Church of the Nativity, Huntsville, preached the sermon, form the text, I Cor., iv, 1, 2, and read the Epistle.

The following hymns were used during the service: 522, 359, 586, 345, and 491.

Mr. Harvey was a student for three years in the Academic Department at the University of the South, and three years in the Theological Department.  He left Sewanee to take charge of St. Mark’s, Prattville, as Lay Reader, in June 1909, and was made Deacon at New Decatur last February.

The Bishop confirmed two persons while at Sheffield, October 30th.

Four members of Grace Church Choir, Sheffield, canvassed the Parish in order to raise funds to procure a new organ.

A new Packard organ has just been received and will greatly improve the praises in the Lord’s House.

The Congregation is to be congratulated upon having such loyal and active helpers in the Parish.


Chapter 10

The Reverend Ethelbert Henry James Andrews

The Reverend Ethelbert Henry James Andrews was born in Portsmouth, England, March 31, 1868, the son of Sebert Henry Andrews and Sarah Gould.  He was educated in English Church Schools and privately prepared for Holy Orders in this country.  In 1895, he was ordained deacon by Bishop John M. Kendrick of Arizona, and in 1899, he was ordained priest by Bishop James S. Johnson of West Texas.  He married Henrietta Lamar (Calder), Galveston, Texas, in 1902.  He was missionary in charge of St. Luke’s Church, Deming, New Mexico, 1895-96; he was assistant minister of Saint Clements church, el Paso, Texas, 1896-97; was missionary in charge in Runge and Boerne, Texas, 1898-99.  He was rector of Saint Paul’s Church, Greenville, Texas, 1900-01; rector of Saint Phillip’s, Palestine, Texas, 1902-08.  He was rector of Trinity Church, Florence, Alabama 1908-10, from where he served Grace Church, Sheffield.  Mr. Andrews also served the small, unorganized mission at Courtland, Alabama.  He resigned from Trinity January 26, 1910, and from there went to Milford, Delaware, as rector of Christ Church until 1917.  At All Saints’ Church, Elizabeth, New Jersey, he served as rector until 1922.  After serving All Saints, he became rector of Saint Mark’s Church, Plainview, Texas, and All Saints’ Church, Canyon, Texas.

He was registrar for the Diocese of Delaware May 1915, and Deputy at the General Convention 1907 and 1916.  He died December 7, 1924.  (The above information is from “Gathering Up Our Sheaves With Joy,” by Mary Lancaster, and page 27 of “Stowe’s clerical Directory, 1917.”)


Chapter 11

The Reverend Cassius Lee Price

The Reverend Cassius Lee Price served Grace Church from 1912 to 1923, while he was rector of Trinity, Florence.  Many services of baptism, marriage, and burial performed by him are recorded in the Grace Church register.  He was well loved by all whom he served; many have been quoted:  “He truly lived his faith.”

Mr. Price, son of William Bennett King Price and Mary Frances Emerson, was born in King George County, Virginia.   He attended the Episcopal High School for Boys.  He graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1896 and was ordained deacon by Bishop Coadjutor, John B. Newton, of Virginia, in 1897.  He was ordained priest the same year by Bishop Coadjutor Robert a. Gibson, of Virginia.   He married Mary Emily Savage in 1903.  They had four children: Mary, Dorothy, Lance, and Frances.  He served three churches in Virginia from 1896 to 1898.  They were: St. John’s, West Point; Saint David’s, Aylett; and Saint Peter’s, New Kent County.  From 1903 to 1908, he was rector of Saint Paul’s Church, Hickman, Kentucky.  From 1908 to 1911, he served (in Kentucky) as priest-in-charge of Trinity Mission, Fulton; Christ Church, Columbus; and Saint John’s Church. He retired on January 1, 1925

Mr. Price was active in community affairs, even after he retired because of failing health.  He supervised the landscaping of Florence city Park.  He was expert in the field of horticulture.  A marble bench was placed in Wilson Park (formerly Florence City Park) by the Exchange Club in 1929, in memory of this rector.  His name was entered in the Exchange Club’s Book of Golden deeds, in 1949, and a drinking fountain in Wilson Park was dedicated to the memory of the Reverend C.L. and Mrs. Price, on June 16, 1957.

The flu epidemic of 1918 forced the closing of all churches in the area until conditions improved.  The churches closed at the request of the Health Department.

Even though his health forced him to retire in 1924, Mr. Price lived and served the community in many ways until his death September 27, 1928.  (The biographical data on Mr. Price was taken from “Gathering Up Our Sheaves With Joy,” by Mary Lancaster.)

In 1920, Trinity, Florence, was still sharing their rector, Mr. Price, with Grace Church.  He had graciously served Grace Church during a long period while the church was without a minister.  According to a letter from him, in April 1920, he had developed many strong ties of friendship with members of the congregation and had continued serving Grace Church out of his personal desire to help.  The members appreciated Mr. Price very much, but there was frustration because the Bishop had not sent a resident priest.  At this discouraging point of complete dependency on the diocese, the senior warden, Mr. Coleman, wrote to Bishop Beckwith that the vestry felt that it would be better to close the church than to “drag” along the way Grace Church was doing.  This letter was a cry for help, not a real threat to close its doors.  According to a letter from Mr. W.T. Archer to Mr. Price, Grace Church wanted to move ahead, but wanted to convey to Bishop Beckwith its strong desire for a priest.  The congregation had little hope for a future without a resident minister.

There was a great misunderstanding on all sides.  Bishop Beckwith responded April 14, 1920, with a three-page letter to Mr. Coleman chastising the people of Grace Church for being unwilling to sacrifice to have a church that could make “normal progress.”  He informed Mr. Coleman that Bishops, not vestries closed churches.  The Bishop said that Grace Church had expected the ministers sent by the diocese to succeed in their work without the effort and cooperation of the members.  He accused the members of not taking the Church seriously.  He told Mr. Coleman that he was looking for a priest for Sheffield, but that he would hate to put himself in the hands of Grace Church if he were to represent the Church and be “true to the message placed in his keeping.”  The Bishop said there were too few “hungry for the Church and Her ministrations,” too few real Churchmen and Churchwomen, and yet enough of these if only they would take a stand for “real things, and be what they are.”  Bishop Beckwith said that he wrote this letter in love and wanted to help Grace Church, not offend the members.  He said that he did not want the ill will of Sheffield, but he knew he risked it.  The Parish Register for Grace Church shows Bishop Beckwith’s last visit to Sheffield to be April 14, 1919.  No one was confirmed until the Rt. Reverend W.G. McDowell, Bishop Coadjutor of Alabama, came to Grace Church, January 14, 1923.

Without a membership determined to serve the Lord as Episcopalians in Sheffield, and without the help of Mr. Price, Grace Church could have been doomed, but the few struggled on, and with the love and encouragement of Bishop McDowell (who became bishop of the diocese in 1924) who sent the Reverend V.C. Lowery, Grace Church moved forward.

Mr. Alleyn, who had been appointed lay reader in 1922, continued to serve until the Reverend V. C. Lowery became rector of Grace Church.  Mr. Alleyn acted as Mr. Lowery’s assistant during the time Mr. Lowery served Grace Church—from 1924 to 1927.  Grace Church was no longer a parish but a mission church, which meant that it, was dependent on the diocese for financial help and dependent on the Bishop to supply a priest.  This system of mission churches proved to be unsatisfactory, so the system was abolished in 19???.

On November 18, 1923, at a meeting held at Grace Church on Sunday morning the following officers for 1924 were elected:  Mr. W.T. Archer, senior warden; Mr. Charles J. Alleyn, treasurer; Mr. Edward Spencer, secretary; Dr. John P. Long and Mr. George E. Saywell, trustees.

On January 21, 1924, The Tri-Cities Daily/Florence Times ran an account of a dinner party given by Mr. And Mrs. W.T. Archer, at the Chamber of Commerce Building, for the entire Grace Church congregation.  The church had been without a rector for a long time, “having been kept together by the faithful few in the Sunday school and in the Ladies’ Guild.  Mrs. Barton Isbell, Mrs. Will Loxley, Misses Violet Palmer, Lea Loxley, Mary Lee Howard, Ada Saywell, and their associates have just finished redecoration of the interior of the church, making it most attractive.”  The church services were being well attended with Mr. Alleyn as lay Reader.  The account read on that Mr. And Mrs. Archer’s hospitality “furthered a feeling of fellowship and created a revival of interest in, and a reconsecration to the services of the church.”  Mr. J.R. Colman, “who had served faithfully on the vestry of the church, was one of the board for the building of the present structure.  Mr. Coleman gave an interesting talk, Mr. George Saywell, long a veritable “pillar of the church: spoke of the work to be accomplished.  Mrs. George Saywell, Mrs. Harvey Adams, and Miss Lea Loxley gave reports from the Guild and Sunday school.  Dr. Long and Colonel Mitchell spoke on the part of the new members.  (Dr. Long’s wife, Martha, was the niece of Mr. Nobel, who built St. Michaels and All Angels Episcopal Church, in Anniston, Alabama.)  Mr. Charles J. Alleyn was sent as a delegate to the Council, in Birmingham.

The Tri-Cities Daily, September 7, 1924, announced the arrival of the Reverend V. G. Lowery to Grace Church:

Bishop McDowell Here Sunday

Sunday next will be a very important day in the lives and happenings of the members of the Episcopal Church in Sheffield and Tuscumbia, and, in fact, should be a cause for rejoicing on the part of all Christian people as it will record and mark the strengthening and adding to of the Christian leadership of both cities.  The Reverend V.G. Lowery will then become rector of Grace Church, Sheffield, and St. John’s Tuscumbia.  Mr. Lowery has also accepted the appointment of Bishop McDowell and is now the archdeacon of the Tennessee Valley, covering the field extending from the Mississippi line to Decatur.

Mr. Lowery brings to his new work an experience of fourteen years in the mission field of the Diocese of Alabama, and has lived for eleven years in Troy.  He also served his church as secretary of the diocese for seven years, and as Dean of the Montgomery Convocation, and a member of the Diocesan Board of Missions for a like number of years.

The Rt. Reverend W.C. McDowell, Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Alabama, will come from Birmingham and be at Grace Church next Sunday morning.  At that service he will conduct the formal institution of Mr. Lowery and also celebrate the Holy Communion.

The congregations of Grace Church and St. John’s will join together in this special and long-to-be-remembered event and extend a hearty and cordial invitation to the people of the district to join them in this solemn and impressive service.  The hour of the service is eleven o’clock.

At 4 p.m., a service will be held at St. John’s, Tuscumbia, with sermon by the Reverend V.G. Lowery.

Mr. Lowery and the Reverend E.C. Seaman had been at Grace Church, on December 21, 1923, to hold a special service and conference in the interest of the Nationwide Campaign.  The conference was a success and Mr. Lowery had been well received by the congregation of Grace Church.

The parish register shows Mary Elizabeth Colvin to be the Reverend V.G. Lowery’s first baptism at Grace Church, April 27, 1924.

Mr. Lowery was born in New York City, October 29, 1882, son of William G. Lowery and Ellen Cunningham.  He married Bessie L. Thomasson, reading, Pennsylvania, June 24, 1905 (deceased) and Pearle Thomas Adams, October 4, 1937.  (“Stowe’s Clerical directory,” 1929 and 1965).

It was during Mr. Lowery’s tenure at Grace Church that the Boys’ Choir was organized.  Boys from all denominations joined.  Each boy was paid fifty cents a week to attend practice.  The choir became a very successful project involving the community.  Membership fluctuated; there were new faces constantly.  The boys sang first at an Easter feature at Grace Church.  They had been practicing for three months.  Adults who sang with the choir on Sundays were: Mrs. Charles Stiff, Mrs. George Patterson, Mrs. J.A. Wilson, Mrs. E. Von Pawel, Mrs. John L. Reuf, and Mr. W. T. Archer.  Miss Ruby Pitts was the choir director.  The boys were: Charles Adams, Hallon Box, Bobbie Chisholm, Marion Cutler, Carl Cutler, A.C. Curry, Gilford Dudley, Moody Dudley, Wade Everhart, Edward Green, McCoy Hearn, Clyde Ingram, Buford Jackson, Dirdie Pate, John Pounders, Henry Raymond Mitchell, Jr., E.C. Mitchell, Richard Saywell, Sidney Saywell, Clyde Savage, Bobby Thorne.  A few of those who joined later were Julian Clark, Aubrey Garrison, and Perian Price.

From an article, which appeared in the Birmingham News, by Dolly Dalarymple, in 1928, Archdeacon lowery is quoted “One of the things that I was particularly proud of was that at Grace Church we had then the only boys’ choir in Alabama.  Others have followed since but ours at that time held the distinction of being the only one.”  Continuing with information from the Birmingham News, Mr. Lowery was a native of New York City, and he spent his boyhood days in Floral Hills, Long Island.  His first profession was with the railroads.  In 1917, he lived in Montgomery, Alabama, and served as district traffic chief for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (long distance).  While living in Montgomery, he attended St. John’s Episcopal Church, and under the leadership of the Reverend E.E. Cobbs, he organized the Brotherhood of St. Andrew’s, an organization with which he had always been associated.

He was also instrumental in arranging the first noonday Lenten services that Montgomery had.  They were held in a theater on Commerce Street.  He continued to be very active in church work and in 1910 he was persuaded to study for the ministry of the Episcopal Church.  During this time, he, as lay reader, was associated with the Reverend P.G. Linceda.  Among his assignments were St. Marks Episcopal Church, Prattville, 1910-13; St. Paul’s, Lowndesboro, 1910-24; St. Andrew’s, Haynesville, 1910-24; and a mission at Ataugaville.  In 1912, he was assigned to the Church of the Nativity, Dothan; and St. Mark’s, Troy, 1916-18.  During 1912, he was ordained to the priesthood at Trinity Church, Union Springs, by Bishop C.M. Beckwith, Bishop of Alabama.  His special mission in the rural districts and small cities of the State resulted in growth and expansion of the faith under his direction.  After his ordination to the priesthood, his assignment included Troy, Union Springs, Lowndesboro, Hayneville, and a church of black communicants in Montgomery (The Church of the Good Shepherd).

After World War I, Bishop Beckwith put him in charge of St. John’s Church, Eufaula, and Grace Church, Clayton, 1919-20.  For several years he was the only diocesan missionary in a large section southeast of Montgomery.  He was secretary of the diocese of Alabama in 1922.

From the 1928 Birmingham New article, “In 1924 Bishop McDowell appointed me Archdeacon of the Tennessee Valley and my duties were wide in their scope, among them being to prepare and take charge of two separate congregations, one in Tuscumbia and the other in Sheffield.

Mr. and Mrs. John Reuf, members of Grace Church, helped Mr. Lowery with Sunday school at St. John’s, Tuscumbia.  Mr. Reuf was Sunday School Superintendent, and each Sunday, on the way to St. John’s, the Reufs would pick up many underprivileged children, take them to Sunday school and then return them to their homes.

Mr. Lowery said that in 1928 there were 100 communicants at Grace and that the Sunday school and educational work was “most satisfactory.”  He also said that St. John’s, Church was reorganized and had progressed a pace with other churches.

All but one summer while Archdeacon Lowery was in Sheffield, he attended the University of Wisconsin, and that summer he went to Vanderbilt.  He said that at Vanderbilt he met and conferred with the greatest minds of the country regarding church work.  “These experiences have been invaluable to me in my missionary work and educational work where for two years under Bishop McDowell I have been a member of the Educational Committee and have recently succeeded the Reverend Oscar De Wolfe Randolph, formerly rector of St. Mary’s Church, as treasurer of the Department of Mission.” (1928 Birmingham News article).  Each spring, for four years, the diocese held a conference concerning rural church work and life; three of these four years Professor Roy J. Colbert, of the Department of Sociology and Economics of the University of Wisconsin, has brought to the Diocese the latest methods and angles concerning the sociological situation.  This study emphasized that the life of the entire family must be considered in order to reach the people spiritually and to find the best approach to their needs.  The Birmingham News article (1928) quoted Archdeacon Lowery “When we stop to consider that in America there are 78,000,000 of the population who have not accepted Christ as compared to 45,000,000 Christians we realize that America is not Christian, except by influence.

In an article by Mrs. Lelia C. Alleyn, November 11, 1924, entitled, “The little Church on the Corner,” she cites: “After fervent prayer and study as to the present needs of this church, Bishop McDowell has sent the Reverend Dr. V.G. Lowery.  The theme of all his discourses is service, and his very worked and deed confirm him a man of God.”

Her article listed some of the “beautiful weddings that have occurred in Grace Church.”  Those listed were:  Florence Wilhoyte and Temple Tutwiler, Annie K. Roulhac and Charles Poellnitz, Charles Frances Hogue and Lola R. Robinson, Joseph A. Wilson and Isabelle Downs, Barton Cooper Isabell and Julia Erwin Cooke, Frank Marion Perry and Margaret Proctor, and Harry Asby deButts and Margaret Ross Blair.  She listed some of the church leaders at that time:  The Saywells, the Stockton Cookes, Colonel Americus Mitchell, Mr. W.T. Arthur, Mrs. Will Loxley, Mrs. Harmon Eakle, Mrs. Barton Isbell, Mrs. M.S. Hansborough, Dr. and Mrs. J.P. Long, Mrs. Aubrey Garrison, and Miss Annie Hill.

After Mr. Lowery arrived in 1924, the Florence Times/Tri-Cities Daily carried the following account of a reception for the new rector:

The beautiful reception given by the members of Grace Episcopal Church on Wednesday evening was a fitting compliment to their new rector and his wife, the Reverend and Mrs. V.G. Lowery.  The event was planned by the Young Women’s Auxiliary and was perfect in every detail.  Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Archer tendered their handsome new home for the occasion. The spacious rooms were well adapted for the entertainment of the more than two hundred guests who called during the evening.  A delicious punch was served on the porch from a prettily appointed table by Mrs. Harmon Eakle and Miss Lillian Crosby.  The guests were met at the door by Miss Annie Hill and Mrs. A.M. Garrison, who introduced Dr. and Mrs. Lowery.  Receiving with Dr. and Mrs. Lowery were Mr. and Mrs. Archer, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Alleyn, Mr. and Mrs. Stockton Cooke, Dr. and Mrs. J.P. Long, Mrs. E.B. Almon and Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Coleman.  Mrs. Johnston and Miss Ada Saywell invited guests into the dining room where an ice course was served.  The dining room was very lovely in the varying tints of lavender and rose.  The table was lace covered and centered with a beautiful silver basket of asters and specimen dahlias, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. McCool, gathered from their garden.  Silver baskets of petit feurs, silver compotes holding mints and salted nuts, and rose unshaded tapers in silver holders completed a very lovely scheme of decoration.  Vases of silver holding snap dragons and cosmos shading from rose to lavender were placed on mantle and bouffet.  Presiding at the table were Mrs. M.S. Hansbrough and Miss Mary Lee Howard.  They were assisted by Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. Hoyle, Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Percy Hillhouse, Misses Saywell, Palmer, Hopkins, Neisample and two lovely young daughters of Dr. and Mrs. Lowery, Miss Dorothy and Miss Ruth Lowery.

To the committee on arrangements, Mrs. Long, Mrs. Garrison, Miss Annie Hill and Mrs. Will Loxley and to the decorating committee under the able direction of Miss Howard, Mrs. Barton Isbell, Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Eakle, and Mrs. Hoyle, together with all who assisted is due the credit to one of the loveliest receptions given for many seasons.  The pastors of all the churches including Father Theodosius, of the Catholic Church, and a large representation from the various congregations called to welcome Dr. and Mrs. Lowery and to congratulate the members of Grace Church.

A correction was run several days later to show the names of Mr. and Mrs. G.E. Saywell were omitted from the receiving line, and Mrs. William C. Loxley was omitted from those listed who assisted in serving.

On December 9, 1926, the local paper ran the following story: “Episcopalians have Get Together Supper and Discuss Program.”

Nearly a hundred members of Grace Episcopal Church congregation met at the Chamber of Commerce Thursday night and enjoyed a get-together supper prepared by the ladies of the church, after which talks were made concerning the plans for the church work during the coming year.

Reverend V.G. Lowery acted as toastmaster and chairman and delivered an interesting talk on the obligation of church people to give the extent of their cooperation towards church building.  He brought out the necessity of properly financing the work of the church and the responsibility of every church member to devote some part of his life’s interest in enabling the church to carry on.

Reports on work of the past year were heard from W.T. Archer and C.J. Alleyn and an interesting presentation of a plan for creating a boys’ choir was made by E. Kent Leary.

Others interested in this phase of work told of what had been done along bring the choir to a reality and of the place that it would take in adding more to the impressiveness of the service.

Following the matters of business touched on by officers, several others were heard, including John Peach, E. Von Pawel, Bert Saywell, George E. Saywell, Jr., Flint Wlinson, and G. P. Nicolopoolos.

Reverend Lowery stated at the supper that it was the hopes of the church that the affair could be made an annual event and that it would grow in interest and importance.

Mr. Lowery was rector of St. marks, Oakman, 1926-35; Trinity Mission, West End, Birmingham, and St. Mary’s Mission, Jasper, 1926-35; he was in charge of churches in Ensley and Fairfield in 1928-37.  Mr. Lowery was rector of St. Luke’s, Marianna, St. Agatha’s Mission, DeFuniak Springs, Florida, 1937-51.  He served Epiphany, Crestview, Florida, 1940-51.  He served as Superintendent of Rest haven, St. Augustine, and was minister in charge of St. Paul’s Mission, Federal Point; and St. Thomas Mission, Flagler Beach, 1951-57.  He was minister in charge of Holy Comforter, Crescent City, 1957-58.

The Reverend Valentine George Lowery retired in 1958 and died March 3, 1966, at the age of 83.  He had been a priest for over 50 years.  He was a former rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Marianna, Florida, where he served for thirteen and a half years.  Funeral services were held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, with the Reverend Millard H. Breyfogle, rector, and the Rt. Reverend  Hamilton West, Bishop of Florida, conducting.  He was survived by his widow, Mrs. Pearl Lowery; two daughters, Mrs. William Washabaugh (Dorothy), of Erie, Pennsylvania; and Mrs. Robert Donovan (Ruth), of Shreveport, Louisiana; and a stepson, Gerald Adams, of Holland; and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. (Most of the information concerning Mr. Lowery was sent to me (H. Wilson) by Mrs. Ruth Donovan—newspaper clippings, etc.)


Chapter 12

The Reverend William Moses

The Reverend William Moses (Bill) was rector of Grace Church 1928-29.  He was Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of South Florida at the end of his life.  His son, Frank, resides in Florence, Alabama at this time.

The local paper carried this article, on December 14, 1928, “Welcoming Courtesy for Reverend and Mrs. Moses:”

A charming courtesy of the week was the reception given Monday evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stockton Cooke in Sheffield in special compliment to Reverend and Mrs. William Moses, the former having recently assumed the pastorate of Grace Church, Sheffield, and St. John’s, Tuscumbia, the two congregations uniting in the hospitality.

Throughout the apartments thrown open for the occasion, varied-colored cut flowers were effectively placed while in the dining room lovely pink roses were the flowers used.  To further stress the prevailing color motif, the lace covered table was centered with a silver bowl of the chosen flowers surrounded with the lighted pink tapers in silver holders and silver dishes holding bon-bons.

Guests were greeted by Mrs. Charles Alleyn and Mrs. Barton Isbell and shown to the living room where the honor guests stood with Mr. and Mrs. Stockton Cooke and Dr. And Mrs. W.H. Blake, Jr.  Mrs. Moses wore an attractive toilette of white taffeta; Mrs. Cooke was handsome in black chiffon.

Further assisting in the living room were Mrs. W.T. Archer, Mrs. J.P. Long, Mrs. W.S. Hatch and Mrs. R.A. Chapman.  During the evening a salad course was served by Miss Katherine Cooke, Miss Ann Blythe Kirkland, Miss Antoinette Lowe and Miss Caroline Hogue.

About two hundred guests called during the reception hours, the guest list including the congregation of the hostess church and the pastors and their wives of the various denominations of Sheffield and Tuscumbia.

The Reverend William Moses was born in Atlanta, Georgia, February 6, 1898.  He was the son of Frank Hamilton Moses and Cora Mina Thibadeau.  He attended the public schools in Atlanta, the Georgia School of Technology, and the University of the South Sewanee.  He was ordained both deacon and priest in Atlanta, by Bishop Mikell, in 1924 and 1925, respectively.  He married Cornelia (Neal) Chaffee.  His first church was St. James, Cedartown, and the Church of the Ascension, Cartersville, in the Diocese of Atlanta.  He then took charge of Grace (Sheffield) and St. John’s (Tuscumbia), Alabama.  The institution services for the Reverend William F. Moses as rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Sheffield, and St. John’s were held at St. John’s, December 7, 1928, with the Rt. Reverend William G. McDowell, Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama, officiating.  The Bishop was assisted by the Reverend E. Lucien Malone, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Florence.  In 1930 Mr. Moses moved to Lakeland, Florida, Diocese of South Florida, and was in charge of All Saints’ church until 1952 when he became rector of the Church of the Redeemer, in Sarasota.  He served on the Executive Board of the diocese and as secretary to the diocese, was a member of the Examining Chaplains, and a representative to the Anglican Congress; he was in the General Convention of the church for six conventions.  He was elected Suffragan Bishop on May 23, 1956, at the 34th Convention of the Diocese of South Florida.  He was consecrated in the Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota.

Father Moses had always dreamed of a trip to England, and he and Mrs. Moses sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey, July 5, 1961.  He enjoyed 12 days in London (visiting the Bishop of Exeter) when he had a heart attack and died some five days later.  The following was taken from an article in The Palm Branch, the publication of the South Florida Diocese.

Bishop Moses will be sorely missed in the Diocese—missed not just because he was a Bishop, but because he was loved as a friend.  His warmth and friendliness, his capacity to make individuals feel comfortable in his presence, his devotion to his Lord and Savior, his generosity and good humor all combined to make him a person people wanted to be with.


Chapter 13

The Reverend Charles Joseph Alleyn

After Mr. Moses left, Mr. Alleyn, who had been appointed lay reader in 1922, began serving again as lay reader (1930).  He served continuously as lay reader, then as deacon and priest until 1946.  While he was lay reader, he studied through correspondence courses in order to become a deacon.

In a letter from his daughter, Isabel Alleyn Hammond, to Dr. Wyatt H. Blake III, dated March 10, 1971, one reads as follows:

My mother told me that Mrs. Roulhac*, knowing Father was a dedicated churchman put on her bonnet” and called upon him to take up the work of helping her with strengthening the church at Sheffield.  Through her influence he began to devote his life to what should have been his calling for youth.  *(Mrs. T.R. Julia Erwin Jones Roulhac)

The Episcopal Church Center, in New York, has a record of his ordination.  Among the facts on record:  Mr. Alleyn attended public and private schools and then Soule’ College.  He studied alone for his church courses, and took both oral and written examinations—which he passed with much praise.  Bishop McDowell was his sponsor and sent him boxes of books that were necessary for his study.  Mr. Alleyn was ordained a deacon in February 1930 and priest May 1935 by Bishop McDowell.

In other correspondence from his daughter, Mrs. Hammond, she wrote:

He was the most sure-of-faith person I ever knew and I feel that it was a gracious turn of fate that he ended his life as an ordained priest.

In a letter to Dr. Wyatt Blake III, dated June 7, 1971, his daughter Mrs. Hammond says:

Mr. Alleyn was a ferocious reader and he read nightly in his own father’s library which was amazing as to its scope, quality, and size.

Mr. Alleyn was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 11, 1873, the son of James T. Alleyn and Emily Niven (Alleyn).  He died December 5, 1948.  He married Lelia Belle Crowe, of Sheffield, April 3, 1900, and had one daughter, Isabel Towson Alleyn, borne December 28, 1902, in New Orleans.  According to Mrs. Hammond, “as a young man, Mr. Alleyn was a devoted churchman, member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.  He conducted Sunday afternoon services for inmates of the City Prison.  After 1907, he lived in Memphis, Tennessee, and Pine Bluff Arkansas, where he was with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

When Mrs. Lelia Crowe Alleyn’s brother, James Crowe, an aviator, was killed in World War I the Charles Alleyn’s moved to Sheffield to live with Mrs. Alleyn’s mother.  The American Legion Post in Sheffield is named the James R. Crowe Post in honor of Mr. Alleyn’s brother-in-law.

Mr. Alleyn was an unselfish, devout man, who served Grace Church and Saint John’s, Tuscumbia, long and well.  He served throughout the depression which followed the market crash of 1929.  Records of his salary from the diocese were not available in their records.  There was little material reward for Mr. Alleyn in Sheffield and Tuscumbia.  He served because he loved the Lord.

Mr. Alleyn had no means of transportation to get to St. John’s in Tuscumbia.  Many times finding a ride was impossible so he walked both ways.  Mr. Alleyn was known to walk that distance between Sheffield and Tuscumbia in all kinds of weather.

Mr. Alleyn wrote scholarly sermons, which for many years he read from the pulpit.  Gradually, with encouragement from several members, he stopped reading his sermons, and his delivery became quite good.  There was a very positive response from the congregations after this change.  He wrote a regular column on religion for one of the newspapers in Nashville, Tennessee.  In 1902, Mr. Alleyn’s occupation was Proprietor of The Sugar Warehouse.

Mr. Alleyn life was lived as a true Christian, he was known at times to have given his last dime to someone in need.  For several years, his Christmas gift from the congregation was cash to spend as he wished; then the vestry members discovered that he was giving it away every Christmas Eve.  So, after finding that out, the vestry would determine a need he had and a member would accompany him on a shopping trip to purchase the item.

In his latter years, to supplement his income, Mr. Alleyn raised chickens and sold eggs.  Members were embarrassed by him having to do this because the church could not increase his salary to an adequate amount to live on.  Mr. Alleyn, for many years, lived in a rented room not many blocks from the lovely home where he and his family had once lived.  These were hard and lean years for everyone in the church.

A few members serving as vestrymen during the thirties and forties were Messers. Clopper Almon, W.T. Archer, J.A. Wilson, Ray Black, Bert Saywell, Gordon Ryland, Gordon Koons, Stockton Cooke, Jr., Roy Wagstaff, John Reuf, John Peach, Dr. John P. Long, Dr. W.H. Blake, Jr. (Dick), and Paul Givenn.

Some of the ladies active in the Ladies Guild during this same time were: Mrs. Clopper Almon (Louise), Mrs. W. C. Lindsey (Marge), Mrs. Roy Wagstaff (Harper), Miss Katherine Cooke, Mrs. Barton Isbell (Julia), Mrs. Malcolm Carmichael (Elizabeth), Mrs. J.A. Wilson (Belle), Miss Ada Saywell, Mrs. Richard Saywell (Lillian), Mrs. Dick Blake (Rebecca), Mrs. Rebecca Stickney, Miss Annie Hill, Mrs. Christine Couch, Mrs. Margaret Blassingame, Mrs. Martha Long, Mrs. W.T. Archer, Mrs. John Reuf (Winnie), Mrs Ray Black (Blanch), Mrs. Jimmy Black, Mrs. Gordon Ryland (Virginia), Mrs. Gordon Koons (Daisy), Mrs. A.M. Garrison (Lillian).

Some members who served on the Altar Guild during this time were Mrs. John Long, Mrs. Harry Couch (Christine), Miss Katherine Cooke, Mrs. Julia Isbell, Mrs. J.A. Wilson, Mrs. W.T. Archer, and Miss Annie Hill.

The church’s parish house during this time was one large room.  Centered on one side of the room was a coal-burning stove, around which everyone warmed their hands on those cold wintry days.  The rector’s office was barely large enough to hold the rector’s desk, chair, file cabinet, and a guest chair.  There was a small powder room and small, narrow, kitchen situated on the other side of the room. In spite of the kitchen’s inadequacies it was the place where the preparation and cooking of many delicious church dinners took place.  Partitions were put out every Sunday morning to make individual Sunday school rooms for the children and the classes for adults and young teenagers were held in the nave of the church.  Sometime in the fifties, cabinets to hold vestments were built along one of the walls.  Also, during this time, some comfortable furniture and drapes were added allowing this space to be transformed into an attractive place for luncheons, pancake suppers, spaghetti suppers, and Christmas parties, etc.

Some of the memorable and dedicated teachers who taught during the twenties and thirties were Mrs. W.T. Archer, Miss Mary Carson Hopkins, Mr. J.A. Wilson, Mrs. Barton Isbell (Julia Cooke), Miss Annie Hill, Mrs. Raymond Adams, and Mrs. W.H. Blake.

During the twenties, thirties, and forties, like so many small parishes members wore many hats in serving Grace Church.  Mr. Archer was Sunday School Superintendent and teacher; sang tenor in the choir (and directed it part of the time); served as senior warden many times; and served as treasurer of the Church, etc.  Mr. Bertram (Bert) Saywell sang baritone/bass in the choir, served on the vestry, and served as Memorial and Remembrance Custodian (in the 1950’s).  Mr. J.A. Wilson sang in the choir (bass), taught Sunday school, served on the vestry, served as church treasurer, and Sunday School Superintendent; he also made the wine used for the Holy Communion for several years.

In the thirties and forties, membership in the choir fluctuated, but some members were faithful year after year during this time.  These faithful choir members were Mr. Archer, Mr. Bert Saywell, Mr. Joe Wilson, Mrs. Winnie Reuf, Mrs. Christine Couch, Misses Elizabeth Ann Carmichael (Mrs. Howell Heflin), Lois Sawyell (Mr. L.C. Church), Lila Saywell, Hermine Wilson, Isabelle Archer (Mrs. Charles Barr), and Mary Wallace Archer (Mrs. John M. Lile), Katherine Isbell (Mrs. Dan Garn), Mary Ellen Street (Mrs. Ezelle), Joyce Polly (Mrs. Raymond Adams, Jr.), and Willette Lowe Whitlock.  Other faithful members were Raymond Adams, Jr., Frederick Adams, Ellis Pounders, John L. Mitchell, E.C. Mitchell, Henry Raymond Mitchell, Jr., John Bunn Hall, and Sammy Hall.  Miss Ada Saywell was the organist during most of these years.  Grace Church owned an electric organ with bellows, two key boards, many stops, and foot pedals, which, when played well could produce a pleasing sound to the ear.

The “Cross and Crown” system for acknowledging perfect Sunday school attendance was instituted during these years.  Temporary pins were given for 3 and 6 months.  Then the pupil was given a white and gold enamel pin for one year of perfect attendance.  After the second year of perfect attendance, each recipient was giving a gold wreath to complete the white and gold pin.  After that for each year of perfect attendance a recipient received a bar (which attached to the bottom of the wreath) marking the year of perfect attendance it represented.  During this time two pupils earned unbroken awards for fifteen years.  The Sunday school dropped this program for a number of years, but it was reinstated in 1984 for a short period of time.

Everyone at Grace Church looked forward to the annual church picnic.  For many years, it was held at Herston Springs.  There was plenty of room there to play ball; it had many good trees to climb, and it had a great “swimming hole”—who could ask for anything more for a picnic.

Every year, on the Saturday before Easter, Mrs. Archer’s class of teenage girls would pick purple violets in the woods around Park Boulevard, tie them in bunches, and store them overnight in tubs of water.  On Easter morning a wooden cross would be filled with the violets and placed in the church.

Every Christmas Eve afternoon, there was a party at the parish house.  Simple gifts for each child were placed under a Christmas tree along with a bag of candy and fruit.  The children sang Christmas Carols, and played games.  During this period Grace Church did not have a midnight services.  However, many attended the midnight service at Trinity Church, Florence.  The choir was always invited to sing with the Trinity Choir for these services on Christmas Eve.

For many years, Mr. Alleyn  visualized a thriving church community led by a young energetic priest. Fulfilling this vision Mr. Alleyn had for the churches; in 1947, after World War II, the Reverend Richard Fell, accepted a call to be the rector of Grace Church and St. John’s, Tuscumbia.

The parish house for the Montgomery Ave location had been erected after the church was built, in 1903, it faced Seventh Street.  The original parish house was a frame building.  Around 1940, the building was bricked and the connector was enclosed and used as a vestry room.  Howard Griffith, architect, was in charge of the remodeling renovation.  E.C. Carter was the contractor.  John L. Mitchell, a member of Grace Church and draftsman for Howard Griffith at the time, was given responsibility for accomplishing the work.


Chapter 14

The Reverend Richard Fell

The Reverend Richard D. Fell served as vicar of Grace Church, Sheffield, and St. John’s, Tuscumbia, from 1947 to December 25, 1950.  He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, November 22, 1916.  He was the son of Rufus Cobb Fell and Margaretta Nye Laverty.  He attend high school in Birmingham, the University of Alabama, Birmingham Southern University where he received a B.A. degree in 1937, Virginia Theological Seminary where he received a B.D. degree in 1947.  He was ordained deacon on September 29, 1947.

The Reverend Richard Fell was ordained to the priesthood in Grace Church, Sheffield, on the Feast of the Ascension, May 6, 1948, by Bishop Carpenter.  He was presented for ordination by the Reverend Charles J. Alleyn.  The sermon was preached by the Reverend Edward G. Mullen, rector of Trinity Church, Florence, Alabama.

Note:  Picture is available for here.  Pictured are the Reverend E. Marsden Chapman,

the Reverend Edward G. Mullen, the Reverend Randolph Clairborne,  Bishop Carpenter,

the Reverend Richard Fell, the Reverend Joseph Horn, and

the Reverend Charles J. Alleyn.

Mr. Fell (Dick) was very personable and was very well liked by both congregations and town’s people.  He responded often to requests to take part in club and civic activities.

Among his many interests was the piano; he took lessons from Mrs. Fred Barry (Elsie) who was the organist of Grace Church at that time.

Dick made friends easily because of his out-going personality and his good sense of humor.  He displayed a real sensitivity to Mr. Alleyn by soliciting his opinion from time to time and requesting his assistance and participation in many of the services.

During the time that Dick Fell was rector at Grace Church, the church tried, but failed, to become a parish.  Members of Grace Church sincerely wanted to be a parish as the church was now able to be self-supporting.  During the 1930’s Grace Church had become a mission church and had not regained its “Parish” standing.

Some Sunday School teachers during this period were:  Mrs. Kathleen Proctor, Mrs. William F. McDonnell (Flo), Mrs. Ray Black (Blanch), Mr. Ray Black, Mr. J.A. Wilson (Joe), and Mr. W.T. Archer.

The Reverend Dick Fell went to Arlington, Virginia, from Grace Church, on January 1, 1951.  There he combined two small churches into St. Andrew’s Church.  In 1993 it was reported that this church was one of the largest Episcopal Churches in Northern Virginia.  Two daughters were born to the Fell during his tenure at St. Andrew’s Church:  Kathleen Walker, born March 4, 1951, and Margaretta Kirk born May 15, 1954.

The Reverend Dick Fell left St. Andrews on December 28, 1954, to begin his ministry as rector of St. Thomas Church, Richmond, Virginia, on January 1, 1955.  In January 1961 he began serving St. Michaels church, Charleston, South Carolina.  He served there until March 1965, when he returned to Richmond as rector of All Saints church, on River Road.  He retired from while at All Saints in January of 1976, because of ill health.  He spent his retirement in Charleston where he died April 4, 1977.  We are thankful for much of our biographical data concerning Dick Fell’s ministry having received it from his wife, Kathleen.  She wrote that during his ministry he served on many diocesan committees, such as Christian Education, Race Relations, Ad Hoc on the State of the Church, and he also served on Diocesan Councils during his ministry.

While at St. Thomas Church, Richmond, Dick Fell was the examining chaplain from 1955 to 1961 and 1966 till 1969.  While at St. Michael’s, Charleston, he was a member of the Standing Committee and Trustee of St. Mary’s Junior College from 1962 to 1965, and a member of the Board of The Episcopal Bookstore, Richmond, Virginia.


Chapter 16

Dr. Ray Black

Grace Church participated very little in the Diocesan Youth Program before the fifties because there were so few young people in the congregation.  There was, however, some involvement with Trinity Church, Florence, as they invited our young people to join their EYC (Episcopal Young Churchman).  A few of our young people also took advantage of this invitation and some elected to attend the youth activities of their friends groups at the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Sheffield.

After Richard Fell left in 1949, there was no rector until 1952.  Grace church was fortunate to have a member who was a well-qualified lay reader by the name of  Dr. Ray Black.  Ray was not only qualified but also willing to serve the Lord by leading the worship at Grace Church during this time.  Dr. Black was a Bible scholar, a dedicated Christian, and very articulate.  He wrote moving and thought-provoking sermons.  At this time in the Diocese of Alabama, all sermons written by lay readers had to be approved by the Bishop.  Bishop Carpenter was quite impressed with Dr. Black’s capabilities and licensed him to preach sermons at Grace Church (outlines of Dr. Black’s sermons are on file in the History room files at Grace Church).  Consequently, during this time of no ordained clergy at Grace Church the congregation was ably served by Dr. Ray Black.  Dean Alexander (the Reverend), from the University of The South, Sewanee, Tennessee came once a month during this time to celebrate Holy Communion.

Mr. Black did his undergraduate work at Birmingham Southern University, Birmingham, Alabama.  He received his master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and was awarded his doctorate at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Dr. Black and his wife came to Sheffield as teachers in our school system.  Dr. Black became the principal of Sheffield High School during his tenure here.  Both Dr. and Mrs. Black generously gave of their talents as teachers and members of Grace Church.  They moved to Birmingham where he became a professor at Birmingham Southern University. (Biographical data on Dr. Black was received from his son Bob Black).

The Reverend Edward G. Mullen gave his support to Grace Church during this period also.  Dr. Mullen called on the sick, performed marriages, burials, and many baptisms.  Members of Grace Church developed a close bond with Dr. Mullen that lasted through the years.


Chapter 17

The Reverend Robert C. Cook

The Reverend Robert C. Cook came to Grace Church in 1952 and had a very active ministry.  This was his first parish after graduating from seminary.  He was born in Morgan, Texas, May 24, 1921.  he served in the Air Force in World War II.  He received his theological education from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.  He was ordained deacon by Bishop Claiborne, on June 5, 1952, at the Church of the Nativity, in Huntsville, Alabama.  He married Mary Bierne Darwin on August 19, 1952.

Almost immediately upon coming to Grace church, the young priest organized the high-school age boys and girls into an enthusiastic EYC group with many plans—from weekly meetings to pancake suppers, diocesan conventions, local social and charity projects.  While Mr. Cook was at Grace Church, the Diocesan Convention for the EYC was held in Sheffield.  Hermine Wilson was the EYC sponsor at the time.  Later, while the Reverend Furman C. Stough was rector, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Patton (Bettie and Charlie) led the group; then Mrs. Tom Pritchett and Mrs. Gene Qualls.  Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Howard also served as EYC sponsors during this time.

The EYC grew in membership and attracted boys and girls form other denominations.  Some of the young churchmen during the late fifties and early sixties were:  Peggy McDonnell, Peggy Proctor, Billy Porter, John Ingleright, George Ingleright, Jimmy Holt, Judy Clark, Billy Howard, Don Jackle, Mac Ryland, Cornelia Hurst, Joe Fairer, Ida Young, Sara Snyder, Greg Qualls, Jackie Masterson, May Woodie Howard, David Howard, Leslie Clark, Frances Masterson, and George Masterson.

Camp McDowell had become very important to youth of all ages by this time.  Bishop Carpenter worked hard for development and expansion of this camp.  Men from Grace Church, along with men from other churches in the diocese, would spend weekends there to help build the cabins and other structures.  Boys and girls from all over the diocese began taking advantage of the summer schedule offered there.  Many enthusiastic campers went each year from Grace Church.

Grace Church had become a parish during the time that Dr. Ray Black was serving as lay leader (1951), so when the Rev. Bob Cook arrived, the church members were anxious to prove what they could do with their new status.  Everyone had great hope for the future of Grace Church.  (Date Grace Church became a parish was found in “Study of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama” by the Unit of Research and Field Study of the Nation council of Protestant Episcopal Churches, completed 09/25/1958).

St. John’s, Tuscumbia, had become structurally unsafe.  The cost to repair the building at this time was prohibitive for a small congregation.  The building was condemned, and Bishop Carpenter officially closed the church.  Grace Church welcomed the members from St. John’s.  These two churches had always worked well together; to date, all the ministers had served both churches.

The Episcopal Church Women undertook many successful projects during this time.  The tradition of the Ice Cream Suppers began anew.  The church had purchased a rectory for the Rev. and Mrs. Cook, at 1304 North Montgomery Avenue, and often the Ice Cream Supper would be held on the lawn at the rectory.  Sometimes Seventh Street between Montgomery Avenue and Nashville Avenue would be roped off in front of the parish house and tables set-up there.  The first Ice Cream supper given by the Episcopal Church Women after a lapse of fifteen years was held on the lot located between Alabama and Montgomery Avenues.Card tables were set up and linen cloths were used on each of the tables.

Mrs. Darwin, Mrs. Cook’s mother, visited Mary Bierne and Bob often during his tenure at Grace Church.  Mrs. Darwin was a “multi-talented” person; she was a musician, an artist, and a seamstress!  When Grace Church needed a substitute organist, Mrs. Darwin would play for the services.  She painted a portrait of the rector in his clerical robes; this portrait hung in the parlor of the rectory.  Mary Bierine Cook was an artist also.  She worked often with pastels, and painted portraits, primarily of children.

Martha Thompson, sister of Mary Bierne was a gifted artist also.  She worked in pastels, oils, and porcelain.  For many years she worked on the art of Parian sculpture.  Parian is a fine porcelain used for statuettes.  Its name is from the Island of Pares, noted for its beautiful marble.  It is a very smooth cream-colored, soft, unglazed china.  After much experimentation, Mrs. Thompson perfected a technique for making this porcelain which gave her an enviable world-wide reputation.  She made historical and period dolls for collectors.  When, at the request of collectors, Mrs. Thompson made a 1905 period doll, she named her “Betsy Sheffield” and gave each Betsy to the ladies of Grace church to dress.  The ladies dressed her in the fashion of that period, and her sales helped to carpet Grace Church.  Ten or twelve ladies met once a week at the rectory to work on Betsy’s wardrobe.  This was truly a social event—the ladies would sew, visit, and have lunch.  Betsy’s clothes were authentic for the period (no synthetic materials—all fabrics used had to have been available in 1905).  All the ladies who could sew were invited to participate in this project.  Some chose to work on the doll’s dress, some on the pinafore, some on the hat, etc.—it was a team effort enjoyed by all.

Fourteen money-making exhibits were arranged to show the thirty-two figurines donated to the Episcopal Church.  The collection of dolls is owned by the Rev. and Mrs. Cook, and includes such historical figures as Elizabeth I, of England; the present Royal Family of Great Britain, President and Mrs. Eisenhower; President and Mrs. George Washington; King Henry VIII and his wives; Empress Eugenie (of France); Queen Victoria and her Consort Albert; and others.

These figurines have been declared by collectors to be the most beautiful of their kind in the world, and they are placed in a number of museums throughout the country.  The collection was exhibited several times at Silver Teas, given at the rectory.  Also, members of the auxiliary would accompany Mrs. Cook on trips to other Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of Alabama and other dioceses to exhibit these works of art.  The exhibit at St. Mary’s on-the-Highlands, Birmingham, was given to earn money to furnish the chapel of St. Martins in the Pines (the Episcopal Retirement Home in Birmingham).  Queen Elizabeth was exhibited at a charity bazaar in London England.

Mr. Cook loved music, and the choir was very important to him.  He sang tenor well and would often sing anthems with the choir.  The choir undertook some very difficult music during this time.  Mrs. Evelyn Reeburgh den Boer was organist and Mr. Don Geason was the choir director for about two years during the time that Mr. Cook was rector.  Later, Mrs. C.D. Fairer (Coy) was organist and Mrs. Frank Potter (Mary) was choir director.  Members of the choir were:  Mr. Bert Saywell, Mrs. John Reuf, Lou Fairer, Joe Fairer, Hermine Wilson, Mr. Frank Potter, Mrs. Harry Couch (Christine), Mr. Laurence (Red) Church, and Mr. Don Geason.

The Ladies Auxiliary had many other money making projects for the church such as a bazaar in the Fall, served lunch for the businessmen, and held numerous rummage sales.

Some of the ladies active in the auxiliary were:  Mrs. Jack Jackle (Libba); Mrs. Stockton Cooke, Jr. (Jane); Mrs. Richard Saywell (Lillian); Miss Lois Saywell; Mrs. A.M. Garrison (Lillian); Mrs. Gordon Koons (Daisy); Mrs. Edith DeWees; Mrs. J. A. Wilson (Belle); Mrs. J.A. Ryder (Lottie); Mrs. Paul Crawford (Halley); Mrs. Roy Wagstaff (Harper); Miss Katherine Cooke; Mrs. Julia Cooke Isbell; Mrs. W.C. Lindsey (Marge); Mrs. Ray Black (Blanch); Mrs. John Long (Martha); Mrs. William F. McDonnell (Flo); Mrs. C.L. Porter (Marianne); Mrs. W.A. Stringfellow; Mrs. Carl Salter (Dee); Mrs. Harvey Titus; Miss Hermine Wilson; Mrs. Leroy Hennigan (Mary Elizabeth); Mrs. Arthur Howard (Cecil); Mrs. Robert Carson (Harriet); Mrs. Howell Heflin (Elizabeth Ann Carmichael); Mrs. Ruth Featherstone; Mrs. Mary Rand; Mrs. Jimmie heath (Sue); Mrs. Bob Cook; Mrs.  Joanne Grisham; Mrs. Dick Blake (Rebecca); Mrs. Rebecca Stickney; and Mrs. Jo Shepherd.

The elected Vestry for 1957 was:  Lowell E. Grisham, Junior Warden; J.W. Jackle, Senior Warden; L.C. Church; Grady Tarbutton; C.D. Fairer; Clopper Almon; Dr. W.H. Blake, Jr.; Roy A. Wagstaff; Arthur Howard; Bert Saywell; Frank Potter; and C.H. Middleton.

A few Sunday school teachers at this time were Mr. Ray Black, Mr. John L. Mitchell, Mr. Vernon Crockett, Mrs. Kathleen Proctor, Mrs. Mary Bierne Cook, Mr. Jack Jackle, Mrs. Libba Jackle and Mr. Lowell Grisham.

Church picnics, held each year, were held at various points on Wilson Lake, were swimming could be enjoyed.

The Cooks became interested in the foster parents’ program and soon were providing a home for a three-year old girl and her baby brother (Wanda and Jackie).  They became devoted to these children, and as soon as possible, they adopted them,

From Grace Church, the Cooks went to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where Mr. Cook became the rector of Christ Church.  Later, in 1958, he was called to Huntsville, Alabama, to unite Holy Cross parish and St. Christopher’s parish.  Holy Cross parish was largely a black congregation located on the Alabama A&M campus in Huntsville; and St. Christopher’s was a white congregation in North East Huntsville that had fallen on hard times.  The parish was located at the Holy Cross site in Huntsville and the St. Christopher property was sold to another church.  Mr. Cook served this successfully joined congregations known as Holy Cross-St. Christopher’s until his retirement in 1987.  Mr. Cook and Mary Bierine now make their home in Huntsville, the family home of Mary Bierine.  However, Grace Church called on the Rev. Bob Cook one more time as he served as interim-rector from December 1988 until August of 1989 while a search for a new rector was being held.  On September 30, 1957, during  The Rev. Cook‘s tenure as rector of Grace Church, Sheffield the parish purchased, on behalf of the Diocese of Alabama, three and one-half acres of land in the River Oaks sub-division of Sheffield.

Mr. Elton Darby Enterprises was developing this sub-division, and they were interested in having a church built in this development.  Mr. Darby offered the property at a good price and The Rev. Cook realizing that Grace Church was fast out-growing its present facility, took advantage of the offer for future growth and development and he and the congregation in agreement took the offer and purchased the property which is now the home of Grace Episcopal Church, Sheffield, Alabama.


Chapter 18

The Reverend Furman Charles Stough

The Reverend Furman C. Stough (Bill) came to Grace Church from Sylacauga, Alabama, in December of 1959.  Bill was a native of Montgomery, Alabama.  His family was Methodist and he attended until he was in high school.  Many of his friends were Episcopalians and they attended St. John’s, Montgomery.  He attended EYC with his friends at St. John’s and sang in the youth choir which paid each member five cents for every rehearsal they attended and twenty-five cents for each service they sang at the church.  He was confirmed at St. John’s while still in high school.  Bill graduated from Sidney Lanier High School, Montgomery.  He joined the army after high school and served in the Pacific theater during World War II.  After being discharged from the service he attended the University of the South, Sewanee with an Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Political Science, graduating with honors in 1950.  Bill married Margaret Dargan McCaa in May 1951.  During his early married life he worked for GMAC, in Dothan, Alabama.  He kept his loyalty to GM throughout his life never driving anything but a GM product.  The Stoughs had two daughters, Leslie and Lisa.

Bill Stough returned to Sewanee and entered the St. Luke’s School of Theology having received a scholarship from Grace Church, Anniston  In 1955 he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Divinity.

From 1955 to 1959, Bill served as rector of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Sylacauga.  While in Sylacauga, he was president of the Ministerial Association, a board member of the American Red Cross, and was on several recreation department committees.  Having served in Japan in World War II Bill joined the National Guard and continued his military career as a Army Chaplain and served in this position until his retirement.  While rector at St. Andrew’s, he was voted the “Outstanding Young Man” of Sylacauga.

During his tenure in Sheffield, Bill Stough served on the board of the American Red Cross, and the Mental Health Association.  He was also a member of the National Library Week Committee and the Mayor’s Advisory Committee.  Bill also served a term as president of the Ministerial Association and two terms as chairman of the Kiwanis Deserving Children’s Committee.

Bill Stough, during his tenure at Grace Church, served as Clerical Advisor to the United Church Women; was for two terms, president of the Provisional Alabama Council of Churches; a member of the executive Council of the Diocese of Alabama; chairman of the Diocesan Department of missions; and Dean of the Florence Convocation, Diocese of Alabama.  He was also chaplain in the Alabama National Guard holding the rank of Captain.  And, he was very much involved with the operation of Camp McDowell.

The rectory at 1302 North Montgomery Avenue was sold and Grace Church purchased another rectory at 100 Guntersville Circle in the Village. This is the last rectory Grace Church has owned. After Bill Stough’s tenure, rectors bought their own homes.

Bill Stough began publishing a parish newsletter having the title: “The Sursum Corda,” meaning “lift up you hearts” from the preamble to the Prayer of Consecration in the Holy Communion Service.  In the first edition, dated February 1960, he reported that Elizabeth Ann Heflin had been elected the diocesan secretary of the ECW.  Further articles reported that the Bazaar Committee, after Wednesday’s Holy Communion Service, planned to sew in the Parish House; that C. Couch was the new chairman of the Altar Guild; that the Ways & Means committee (Libba Jackle, Harriet Carson, and Susanna Tomlinson) were proposing a fifty dollar budget for the ECW the year 1960; that there were 50 enrolled in Sunday school; that the Sunday school teachers had been meeting weekly with the Rector to study and discuss beliefs of the church to help prepare them to give the church’s message to the young people.  This same issue welcomed the following into Grace Church:  Mrs. Earl Bierl, Mrs. Charles O’Donnell, and Juanita and Don Wolfard, and new babies, Stephanie Kay Adkins and Richard Vansyckle.

The Vestry contracted with a fund-raising company for a date to have a supper meeting that would launch a campaign for raising funds to build the parish house on the Darby Avenue site.  This meeting was held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Building on Raleigh Avenue.  Members involved in the various church activities spoke on the needs of their particular group.  The meeting sparked the enthusiasm of the members resulting in a very successful campaign to build.

In September 1962, a contract was let for a stone and concrete structure (the parish house).  The parish house was completed, and on May 5, 1963.  At 4:00 p.m. on this day the Reverend Furman C. Stough, and the Rt. Reverend Charles C.J. Carpenter, Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama, dedicated the building.

This building had to be equipped to serve as a multi-purpose building to serve as the church’s sanctuary and its parish house, offices, and Sunday school until the church building could be built.  When Howard Griffith, architect, drew the plans for the parish house, he also drew sketches of the “proposed” church building, to be kept on file.  It was some 15 years later that the church sanctuary was built next door to the parish house.

Folding chairs were used for the services in the parish house.  They could be moved out of the way for other parish activities.  The parish house also provides a comfortable office for the rector, and adequate Sunday school facilities with room to grow.  The parish house also provided a well-equipped kitchen.  The parish house was named Blake Hall in 1983, in memory of Dr. W.H. Blake, Jr.

The church on Montgomery Avenue was sold to the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); they were promised possession by May 1963, and this promise was kept.’

At the time of the dedication of the new parish house on Darby Avenue the Dr. Gene T. Qualls, senior warden; Albert L. Clark, junior warden; and the following vestry members: James E. Holt, Don Jackson, Gordon M. Ryland, L. Carlton Salter, Dr. Wyatt H. Blake, III, B. Owen Chaney, Cecil N. Johnson, Clopper Almon, Clyde H. Campbell, and Dr. Thomas L. Pritchett.  Chairman of the Building Committee was Albert L. Clark; architect was Howard A. Griffith, Jr.; and the contractor was James M. Massey, Jr.

Other leaders of the parish at this time were, Mrs. C.D. Fairer was organist and Mrs. Frank Potter was the director of music.  Mrs. Clyde H. Campbell was president of the Episcopal Church Women; Gordon M. Ryland, Jr. was the president of the Young Churchmen, and Clyde H. C. Campbell was the president of Grace Club.

The dossal cloth, valance and frame used behind the altar until the church was built in 1978 was constructed by Mrs. Harvey Titus, and Mr. Cecil N. Johnson.

Vestry members who served during the multi-purpose parish house years were as follows:  Paul Gwinn, Dr. W.H. Blake, Jr., Dr. W.H. Blake, III, Dr. Gene Qualls, Dr. Thomas Pritchett, J.A. Wilson, Robert Proctor, A.L. Clark, C.D. Fairer, Frank Potter, Bill Campbell, Carl Salter, Don Jackson, James E. Holt, Clopper Almon, Cecil N. Johnson, and B. Owen Chaney.

Among the Altar Guild member during this time were:  Miss Katherine Cooke, Mrs. William F. McDonnell (Flo), Mrs. Harry Grahl (Mary), Mrs. Harry Couch (Christine), Mrs. Harvey Titus, Mrs. Raymond Adams (Margaret), Miss Mary Ella Hammond, Mrs. Gordon Koons, Mrs. W. H. Blake, Jr., Mrs. W.C. Lindsey (Marge), Mrs. A.E. Reason (Vic), Mrs. Carlton Salter (Dee), Mrs. Arthur Howard (Cecil), Mrs. James M. Morgan (Hattie), and Mrs. J.T. Cabiness (Phyllis).

The Reverend Bill Stough was outstanding in his service as priest at Grace Church.  His sermons were thoughtful and relevant to the times.  He was a strong leader and was competent with organization and administration skills.  He most of all had, a warm, out-going personality.

The Reverend Bill Stough was priest at Grace Church during a time of racial conflict.  Schools were being integrated and the Civil Rights Bill was being enforced.  He was serving Grace Church when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  That was a very depressing period for us all.  During that time of turmoil, Bill Stough’s sermons could be very disquieting, forcing people to delve deeply into their own Christian beliefs.  Thoughtful Christians were forced to take stands on human rights and human dignity.

Before the Civil Rights Bill became law, Reverend Stough arranged meetings with his vestry and representatives of the Black community and paved the way for the formation of an inter-racial group, appointed by the mayor of Sheffield.  Through the efforts of this group, integration of the community and the city schools was accomplished in an orderly fashion, without incident.

During his tenure the Rev. Stough promoted and conducted adult bible study programs on Sunday evening.  Some of the sessions were Bible study; some were devoted to reading and discussing new books on faith and theology.

The women’s auxiliary was also a viable group during Rev. Stough’s tenure as rector.  Meetings were held in members homes, and all were well attended with programs that were pertinent to the life of a Christian, and also the many fund-raising projects were promoted and most were very successful raising money to be used by the parish for ministry and meeting the needs of others.

The Sunday school also grew in membership during this time and expanded its activities.  There were training classes for the teachers—this project was a joint venture with Trinity Church, Florence.  Successful Vacation Bible Schools were held each summer.  Some of the Sunday School teachers were:  Mrs. Libba Jackle; Jack Jackle (who also served as superintendent for several years); Mrs. Margaret Heath; Mr. Emmett White; Mr. Vernon Crockett; Mrs. Paula Campbell; Mrs. Tom Pritchett (Bobbie); Mrs. Charles Patton (Bettie); Mrs. Gene Qualls (Nancy); Miss Hermine Wilson; Mrs. Marianne Porter, Miss Innis; Mrs. James Morgan (Hattie); Mrs. Clyde Roberts (Penney), Mrs. Mary Porter Grahl; Mrs. Cecil Howard, and Sam and Betty McCutchen.

The Reverend Bill Stough left for Okinawa in 1965 to serve in the mission field.  While in Okinawa he was priest for All Souls Church, Machinato, Okinawa, from 1965 to 1968.

During this time Bobbie Pritchett collected medical supplies to send to Okinawa thru the ECW.  Reverend Stough returned to the United States and the Diocese of Alabama in 1970, where he served briefly as rector of St. John’s Church in Decatur, Alabama.

In 1970, at the Diocesan Convention the Reverend William Furman Stough was elected Diocesan Bishop.  The members of Grace Church rejoiced believing that the best man had been elected to move the diocese forward in doing the Lord’s work.  The Reverend Furman C. Stough was consecrated the 8th Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama on February 18, 1971, in the University of Alabama’s Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Grace Church charted a bus for the occasion and filled it with joyful communicants and friends of their former rector and traveled to Tuscaloosa to join in this joyous occasion.  The consecrators were The Most Reverend John Elbridge Hines, DD, STD, DCL, LHD, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church along with the Right Reverend George Mosley Murray, DD, LLD, the 7th Bishop of Alabama and the 1st Bishop of the newly formed Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast.  Bishop Stough served as Bishop of Alabama from 1971 until 1988.  In 1988 he accepted a position with his good friend the Most Reverend Edmond L. Browning, Presiding Bishop, as Executive for Mission Planning and Deputy for the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief, a position he held until 1993.  Before he left, the diocese gave Bishop Stough a rousing send off at Camp McDowell where he was reminded of his ministry to Alabama.  In 1993 Bishop Stough returned to Alabama and became the Assistant Bishop under the 9th Bishop of Alabama, the Right Reverend Robert O. Miller.  Bishop Stough upon the election of the Right Reverend Henry N. Parsley, Jr. as Coadjutor of Alabama in 1998, became Bishop in Residence at St. Luke’s Church, Mountain Brook where he served until his death February 2, 2004.

Bishop Stough was a person of great vision; Bishop Stough encouraged growth and diversity in the Episcopal Church.  During his 17 years tenure as Bishop of Alabama, the diocese increased in membership by one-third with ten new Episcopal parishes created.  During his tenure he also led the diocese in companion ministries with the church in Namibia, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Brazil.  Bishop Stough also brought Cursillo to Alabama as well as Kairos.  He worked for racial justice in the 1960’s, provided leadership in liturgical renewal in the Episcopal Church and the introduction of the revised Book of Common Prayer in the late 1970’s.  Bishop Stough supported the ordination of women in the 1980’s, served as Chancellor of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee from 1979 to 1985. (From the Bulletin for his memorial service at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, February 10, 2004).


Chapter 19

The Reverend Bronson Howell Bryant

The Reverend Bronson Howell Bryant served Grace Church as rector from 1965 until 1973.  He was a scholarly priest and a brilliant theologian.  He had a quiet, friendly manner.  His compassionate nature was always a source of strength to members of his congregation.

Mr. Bryant was born December 4, 1931, in Ocala, Florida.  He grew up in Gainesville, Florida and attended schools there.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida and spent the next two years on active duty with the United States Navy.  After his discharge from the Navy, he attended the seminary at Harvard Divinity School and graduated in 1958.  He was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Florida in 1959, and served as the curate at Christ Church, Pensacola; priest-in-charge of St. Mary’s, Green Cove Springs, Florida; and as assistant minister at Saint Paul’s by the Sea, Jacksonville Beach, Florida.  He served in diocesan departments of Christian Education, Evangelism, and Stewardship during this time.

Mr. Bryant came to Sheffield from Jacksonville Beach, Florida in 1965.  When he left Grace Church, he became the assistant priest at the Church of the Advent, Birmingham.  He was especially interested in the healing ministries, prayer counseling, and “spiritual growth that follows conversion.”

While in Sheffield, Mr. Bryant led many study groups, which were well attended and received by members of Grace Church and the community.

Through the rector and the vestry, and as part of its outreach, Grace Church worked with Mr. Dave Stoner (who was later ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1993, serving in the Diocese of Alabama until his death).  The Reverend David Stoner was rector of St. James’ Church, Alexander City, Alabama.  As a layperson Dave Stoner was the administrator and a trained counselor of the Yokefellow Program in the Shoals Area.  Yokefellow was organized to do both group therapy and one-on-one counseling with people.  His livelihood was from the charitable contributions and pledges people made to his lay ministry during this time.  Members of Grace Church supported this program; some of Grace Church’s members were actively involved with the Yokefellow program and many supported Dave Stoner’s ministry financially.  Grace Church as a parish gave Dave Stoner $50 a month for 15 months to support his program.  All this was done under the leadership of the Rev. Bronson Bryant.

As part of this Yokefellow Ministry a Faith at Work Conference was held at Grace Church, October 23-25, 1970.  During this time Grace Church also helped with a Campus Crusade for Christ weekend with Grace Church sponsoring a Quiet Day.  Also, during Mr. Bryant’s tenure Grace Church brought several nationally known speakers to the Shoals.

During Rev. Bryant’s tenure Mrs. Howell Heflin (Elizabeth Ann Carmichael), and Mrs. Robert Carson (Harriet Hooper) were elected as the first female vestrypersons at Grace Church.  And, from that time forward until the present day, there has not been another all male vestry at Grace Church.

During the Rev. Bryant’s tenure, due to priests finding financial benefit in owning their own homes, Grace Church sold its rectory on Guntersville Road, in Village I.  The Rev. Bryant was the first rector to do so having purchased his own home coincidently in Village I. of Sheffield.

Rev. Bryant married Mildred (Millie) Hall in 1956 after his first year in seminary.  They lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until Bronson graduated from seminary.  They had two sons Jonathan and Stephen while living in Florida, and while in Sheffield they were blessed with their daughter Elizabeth (Betsy), who was born in 1968.

Members of Grace serving on the Vestry during Rev. Bryant’s tenure were: Mr. Clyde (Bill) Campbell; Mr. B. Owen Chaney; Mr. Clyde Roberts; Dr. W.H. Blake, Jr.; Dr. Wyatt Blake, III; Dr. Gene Qualls, Mr. A.L. (Ab) Clark; Mr. Charles Patton; Mr. Jack Jackle; Mr. Das Borden; Dr. Joseph H. Booth; Dr. Thomas L. Pritchett, Jr.; Mr. Jimmie Heath; Mr. Russell Bell; Mr. Charles E. McCutchen (Sam); Mr. William Martin; Mr. jack Fousts; Mr. Don Jackson; Mr. Frank Potter; Mr. Carlton Salter; Mrs. Harriet Carson; Mrs. Howell Heflin; Mr. Harry Grahl; Mr. Robert O. Urquhart; Mr. Cabaniss; Mr. James Morgan; Mrs. Sam McCutchen (Betty); Mr. Charles O’Donnell; Mrs. Gene Qualls (Nancy); Mrs. Wyatt Blake (Jeanne); Mr. Sam Mitchell, Jr.; Mr. John Clement; and Mr. Cecil Johnson.

During this time Jean Urquhart (Mrs. Robert O.) was the church’s secretary on a part-time basis.  Mr. Bert Saywell was handling the Memorial and Remembrance Fund.  At the December 11, 1967, Vestry meeting the Vestry voted an ambitious 13 percent of its gross income to the Diocese for the coming year, passed with the words, “subject to change.”

In 1973, Miss Hermine Wilson was asked to be the clerk of the Vestry a position she held for the next 17 years.

The Episcopal Young churchmen hosted the district meeting on April 26-28, 1968, and it was a great success.  Also, on May 19, 1968, Bishop Carpenter would make his final visit to Grace Church.  In February 1969, Mrs. Emma Lou Fox accepted the post as the parish organist, following Mrs. Coy Fairier.  Mr. Clyde Roberts took over the position of Church Treasurer in 1964 after the death of Mr. Gordon Koons.  In November of 1969, after a short tenure of Mrs. Emma Lou Fox, Mrs. Coy Fairer returned to her old position as organist for Grace Church. (All from Vestry Minutes).

For the Vestry Canvass in 1969, a new innovation was had, Mr. Moltrie McIntosh, from Lexington, Kentucky, gave the “Kick Off” talk at a Stewardship dinner which was provided by the Episcopal Young Churchmen.  Following this dinner “Cottage Meetings” were held at various homes with the Vestry members after the vestry had been trained at a preparation meeting and breakfast.

The stained glass windows in the Church on Montgomery Avenue were all given as memorials to loved ones from members of Grace Church.  The windows were beautiful and added much beauty and splendor to our little church.  The patterns of color that fell softly across the nave of the church seemed to inspire a certain quality of reverence as one sat in the pew.  The windows were made of Italian glass and depicted scenes from the bible and the New Testament.  The large window in the back of the church was the cross and crown; one of the side windows depicted the prophet Samuel; another of the windows depicted the “Annunciation;” another Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The newest window in that little church on Montgomery was the one over the altar—depicting the Last Supper.

When the property for a new church was purchased on Darby Avenue, the congregation agreed that all memorials, including the windows, would be moved to the new location, if and when a new church was built.  These became a serious concern for many of the older members of Grace Church at that time.  They had agreed, with the assurance that the memorials including the windows would be saved in the move.  Subsequently, there was a unanimous approval of the purchase of the property with the prospect of a newer and bigger facility.  Much thought and concern had been part of the decision to move and the disposition of the memorial windows.

The windows were not included in the sale of the property to First Christian Church.  Grace Church had entered into a plan to investigate the expense of storing and moving the windows to the new church.  Estimates were obtained and a firm bid was received from a Mr. Baker, of Birmingham for $7,000 for removing, repairing, re-leading, and installing of all the windows into steel frames.  This price also included the crating and storing of the windows till they could be re-installed in the new church.  The Vestry brought this before the congregation at a meeting on May 10, 1969, after the service on that day.  Other options would have been to deed the windows to the First Christian Church or to sell the windows to them.  Representatives from the First Christian Church met with the vestry to look at these options, but the congregation of the First Christian Church was unable, financially, to undertake a project to repair or buy the windows.  The vestry’s estimate for storage with insurance was at least $12,000.  Building the church was still a dream at this time, so the length of time they would need to be stored could not be determined.  The Congregation of Grace Church decided that deeding the windows to the First Christian Church was the right and best thing to do even though some members of the congregation offered to pay all the storage costs for the windows until they could be used.  These beautiful windows remain as of today a part of this building, which became “Grace Wedding Chapel.”

At the March 1, 1971, meeting of the Vestry, the Worship committee reported that there were three trial services to be used at Grace Church and every church in the Diocese as directed by Bishop Stough.  Thus began the struggle with the “Revised Book of common Prayer,” which for many would not be resolved even as of the year 1993.  For those who were still members of the Episcopal Church and remained faithful the issue had long been settled.  However, a small group, who now call themselves Anglican, left the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA), and formed their own church so they could stay with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  This small group of folks remain steadfast and support the “Society for the Preservation of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  The Episcopal Church for the second time in our history had become a church divided.

Among the active members of the Episcopal Church Women during this time were:  Mrs. Christine Couch, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Heflin, Mrs. Marion O’Donnell, Miss Katherine Cooke, Mrs. Julia Cooke Isbell, Mrs. Kathryn Mitchell (Mrs. Sam, Sr.), Mrs. Rebecca Blake, Mrs. Darcy Strickland, Mrs. Phyllis Cabaniss, Mrs. Eleanor Holder, Mrs. Ron Floyd, Mrs. Nell Martin, Mrs. Penney Roberts, Mrs. Nancy Borden, Mrs. Barbara Sherrill, Mrs. Daisy Koons, Mrs. Harper Wagstaff, Mrs. Marge Lindsey, Mrs. Harriet Carson, Mrs. Cecil Howard, Mrs. Lillie Garrison, Miss Ada Saywell, Mrs. Charlotte Savage, and Miss. Lois Saywell (Mrs. Lois Church).

The ever-faithful Altar Guild members during this time were Mrs. Hattie Morgan, Mrs. Victoria Reason, Mrs. Florence McDonnell, Miss Katherine Cooke, Mrs. Mary Grahl, Mrs. Christine Couch, and Mrs. Cecil Howard.

The Vestry minutes of September 14, 1971 stated that the General Convention in Houston, Texas, had approved the motion that baptized non-confirmed church members and baptized youngsters could take communion after discussion and instruction wit the rector.  The Vestry of Grace Church decided “as a parish, we should make communion available to all non-confirmed youngsters after instruction and discussion involving the rector, the parents, and the child.”

In 1971, the Sunday school was organized as follows:  Dr. Joe Booth, Superintendent and teacher for the three and four your olds; Sam McCutchen was the nursery person; Mary Linda Crockett taught the five and six year olds; Felice Sharp taught the third and fourth graders; Harriet Carson taught the seventh, eighth, and ninth graders; and Millie Bryant taught the eleventh and twelfth graders.

In 1971, Mr. A.L. Clark (Ab) was elected as senior Warden and Mr. J.T. Cabiness was elected the Junior Warden; Mrs. Betty McCutchen was elected to serve as the Clerk.  In 1973 Mr. Clyde Roberts was elected Senior Warden, and Mr. Charles O’Donnell was elected the Junior Warden.

At the September 1973 meeting of the Vestry Mr. Bryant informed the vestry that the Rev. Hugh Agricola, rector of the Church of the Advent, Birmingham, had asked him to be his assistant.  Bronson said that he had accepted the call issued by the Rev. Agricola and that he would start that position in 30 days.  Bronson Bryant served at the Advent from 1973 to 1979 after which he went to St. Martins in the Pines the Episcopal Retirement Center in Birmingham where he was the Chaplain and also the priest-in-charge of a newly formed mission, Epiphany, in Leeds.

In 1985, after 20 years of ministry in the Diocese of Alabama, Bronson Bryant, moved to Pass Christian, Mississippi, where he served as rector of Trinity Church.  He served at Trinity until 1993, when he retired.  While in Mississippi Bronson also served as the Dean of the Coastal Convocation, the Executive Committee for the Diocese of Mississippi, and on the Commission o Stewardship and Evangelism.

During this period of without a rector the Rev. Ed Mullen, and the Rev. Carl Jones, of Trinity Church, Florence, served Grace Church warmly.  The ever present and committed lay readers faithfully served other services and Sunday’s.


Chapter 20

The Reverend Richard Kim

In April of 1974, Grace Church was still looking for a new rector to replace the Rev. Bronson Bryant.  On April 7, the Rev. Deacon Richard Kim was assisting at Christ Church, Tuscaloosa, visited Grace Church, at the invitation of the Vestry and the Search Committee.  Fr. Kim directed the service that day and preached the sermon.  After the service the Vestry held a special meeting and voted to notify Bishop Stough that Grace Church would like to call the Rev. Richard Kim to be the rector.

By 1974, contracts with priests were becoming more detailed and specific as to items included: salary, insurance, continuing education, vacation time, money for annual physical, annual review of the priest’s salary (including, when possible a cost-of-living and /or a merit raise.

In the Diocesan newspaper The Alabama Churchman, dated June 1974, it told of how the road to the priesthood began early for Fr. Kim when at the age of 16 he and an older brother escaped from occupied Shanghai.  They traveled for 30 days by junk, foot, and vehicle, managing to cross guerilla-held territory into free China.  He then enlisted in the U.S. Army, while the truce was being negotiated, and returned to Shanghai with the initial American forces to find his brothers, sister, and mother safe and well.  He was discharged from the Army in 1948 as a Staff Sergeant, and he enrolled in Mount Hermon School, in Massachusetts, to finish his preparatory years of schooling.

The Reverend Richard Kim had a colorful and interesting life before coming to Grace Church.  He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army where he served for 23 years.  Fr. Kim retired from active service in 1971 to begin studies for the Episcopal priesthood.  Fr. Kim studied one year at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee before moving to Tuscaloosa to complete his studies under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Gribbin, the Bishop’s Deputy for Ministry.  He had studied previously at The Shanghai American School in China, Mount Hermon School and Dickinson College.

Fr. Kim served in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II.  During the Korean War, he did tours in Japan and Formosa.  He also served in Europe during the Berlin crisis, Vietnam, and he served on the Army General Staff at the Pentagon in the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the CIA.  Fr. Kim was born in Korea, and met his wife Katherine (Kitsy) while he was in school in Massachusetts.  They had a large family—eight children, four boys and four girls.  Only six of the children moved to Sheffield with their parents.  An older daughter was married, and the oldest son was in service.  When the Kim’s moved to Sheffield, there were only two houses for sale or rent that were large enough for their family.  They ended up purchasing a home in Rivermont the newest subdivision of Sheffield.  An interesting story is told about Kitsy Kim when she was a contestant on the then popular T.V. program, “The 64,000 Dollar Program.”  Kitsy was a buff of Agatha Christie and her many mystery books.  She won $32,000 on this program and stopped there choosing not to go for the big one–the 64,000 question!  She took her winnings and came home.

Fr. Kim, a life long Episcopalian, was ordained a Deacon while in Tuscaloosa in early November 1973, while serving as assistant chaplain at the Canterbury House (the Student house owned by the Diocese at Alabama).  The Right Reverend Furman C. Stough ordained Fr. Kim Priest at Grace Church, Sheffield, May 6, 1974.  The Reverend Emmit Gribbin, Jr., Dick’s mentor, preached the sermon.  Fr. Kim was presented by Mr. Charles O’Donnell, Senior Warden and the Acolytes were: William Strickland, Ann Carson, Greg Borden, Margaret Strickland, Beth Sherrill, Mary Strickland, Greg Qualls, and Paul O’Donnell.

The Rev. Kim served Grace Church as its priest from October 1974 until September 1977.  The Vestry in 1974 when Fr. Kim was hired as rector were:  Charles O’Donnell, Senior Warden, Sam Mitchell, Jr. Junior Warden, Cecil Johnson, Harriet Carson, Jeanne Blake, Bill Martin, Arthur Howard, Jim Frederickson, Das Borden, Nancy Qualls, and John Clement.  During this time Frank Potter was the Treasurer; Jimmie Heath was the Building Fund Chairman, and Hermine Wilson was the Clerk of the Vestry (it is noted here that in time past, the Clerk was always a member of the Vestry – Hermine Wilson was not).  Other past clerks were Joe Booth, Bob Urquhart, Das Borden, Harriet Carson, and Betty McCutchen.

Fr. Kim was well known in the community during his tenure as rector of Grace Church.  He took part in many community activities and sponsored many of them such as Alcoholics anonymous, and the Attention Home for boys.  During Fr. Kim’s time Grace Church had a number of nationally known speakers:  The Rev. Joseph Kellerman, Dr. Morton Kelsey, General Ralph Haney, and in February 1976, Dr. Elizabeth Keubler-Ross, author and lecturer, who spoke on “Death and Dying.”  Also Canon Bryan Green from the Church of England spoke at Grace Church during this time.

During Fr. Kim’s ministry at Grace Church he held a yearly “Blessing of the Animals” service.  The service was always held outside on the church grounds.  Many children from all around the Shoals area would bring their pets to be blessed.  Fr. Kim would annually have a service for the blessing of the boats.  This service was held on Wilson Lake, a many boat owners from both sides of the Tennessee River would have their boats blessed by Fr. Kim.  The Rev. Dick Kim was the first priest at Grace Church who preferred to be called “Father.”

In 1974, Bishop Stough instructed all the churches of the diocese to begin using the new Book of Common Prayer.  The one on trial use at the time was referred to as the “Zebra Book” because of the design of its cover.  Each church had to abide by the Bishop’s instructions; however, each congregation could elect to come up with its own two-year plan for incorporating the new prayer book into permanent use.

Father Kim’s preference in liturgy was traditional I style, but he had to pave the way for the use of the “new” book.  The struggle for adoption of the new book began in earnest during this time.  Its adoption caused great frustration for many members of Grace Church, as well as for Episcopalians nationwide.  Church were forced to adopt it—like it or not!  This, of course, cause dissension, but most of this was assuaged when the final revision included both Rite I (the tradition liturgy with minor changes) and Rite II (the shorter, contemporary language version).  Slowly, the furor died down, and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer was accepted by every congregation in the diocese.  To ignore the difficulty of this change would be like omitting the War Between the States in the history of the United States.  This intense struggle of wills split the Episcopal Church U.S.A.  Those who refused to accept the change of the prayer book took advantage of the argument to separate themselves from the church.  Most Episcopalians view this split as a tragedy.  While the basic theology of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer was not changed the use of the vernacular of the seventies etc. was the “burr under the saddle” for many.

The following is quoted verbatim from pages 46 and 47 of the report of the Fifty-Sixth Annual Council of the Diocese of Alabama,” held May 13-15, 1887, Union Springs, Alabama.

The Late General Convention

“It will be naturally expected that I should say something in reference to the late General Convention, held in Chicago.  (This convention was in 1886—a new prayer book was issued in 1887).

The results of that convention are now spread before the church and it would be superfluous in me to give you in detail the completed and binding action of that body.

Revision of the Prayer Book

With regard to this whole matter of revision, I have not had much sympathy, except as it regards increased flexibility in the use of the church service. I felt a great interest in the legislation, which pertained to that question.  But when it comes to the question of ‘enrichment of the Liturgy,’ I have grave doubts as to the expediency of further legislation in that direction.  And for the simple reason that I do not think that the General Convention, with all its concomitants and surroundings, is competent to ‘enrich’ chosen set of Divines and Laymen sequestering themselves in some quiet nook of earth, beside the shores of old ocean or on the mountain top, and by prayer and fasting, feeding upon old Liturgies and books of devotion, attaining t somethins of “the lost Liturgical Art;’ but I feel a great reluctance to putting the ‘Book of Common Prayer’ into the hands of committees amid the lunches and dinings and whirl of the modern ‘General Convention.’  On this hint I spoke what I had to speak, and said in my place in General Convention what I feel in my heart of hearts. ‘I thank God that our Liturgies, Creeds and Pastoral Epistles were written before the days of ‘General Convention.

We may add a few Collects here and there, and change the ‘Magnificat’ from this place to that, and recall the lost Collect, ‘Lighten our Darkness, oh Lord’ (a prayer now much needed), but I have a painful conviction that with all this we have not just

now the faculty for ‘enrichment.’  This age is in some of it aspects an exceeding great age—an age of wonderful invention, activity and practical beneficence—but it is not a Liturgical Age.  That age must be developed in prayer and devotion, amid persecution and suffering.  Let us be content to play the part and perform the role, which the temper of the times, the constitution of our legislative bodies and our present capability leaves open to us.  ‘This kind of power’—the kind that we aspire to—‘comes not forth’ at the foot of the mountain amid questionings with the scribes and the multitude, but on the Mount of Transfiguration, ‘by prayers and fastings’—a hopeless outlook at our General Conventions as now constituted—when, instead of silence and devotion, there is much speechification and feasting.

No! We must enrich ourselves before we can hope to enrich aught else.  And had the time already expended in efforts to revise the Old Liturgy, been spent in efforts to revise ourselves—in repressing our excess of individuality, self-will and lawlessness, and in bending ourselves to the spirit, law and traditions of this Church, we had made a great advance indeed.  This spirit of subordination t authority and of fidelity to vows is one of our great needs to day.  We do need it much more than we do revisions of the Liturgy and the like.  For if we are at all straightened, it is not in the want of richness of provision, but in our lack of power to digest and assimilate the food that is now spread before us.”

Until 1974, the bishops had tried to visit each church in the diocese once during the year for confirmation services.  Bishop Stough introduced the plan for visiting “areas” instead of each church.  The northwest area included Grace Church, Trinity Church, and St. Bartholomew’s.  The bishop would visit each church during a weekend visit in the area, but would hold confirmation at either Trinity Church, or Grace Church because of the seating capacity of these two churches.

Mrs. Charles H. Hodges (Frances) came to work for Father Kim as the church secretary in 1975.  She worked half a day, four days a week, except before Easter and Christmas when her duties were heavier.  Frances was very competent in her job and loyal.  She managed the office in a calm, professional manner.  During periods when Grace Church was without a rector, she became a link between the members and the church’s activities.  Most secretaries prior to Frances’s tenure were volunteers from the congregation.  Among the volunteers who worked in the office were Mrs. William F. McDonnell, Mrs. Fran Lavinder, Mrs. Elizabeth Houston, Mrs. Cathy Watson, Mrs. Barbara Sherrill, and Mrs. Jean Urquhart.

Father Kim was appointed to the Presiding Bishop’s Task Force for World Hunger.  He attended a meeting of the task force on March 16, 1975, in Louisville, Kentucky.  In support of the Task Force on World Hunger Grace Church’s EYC sent 10 percent of their earning from a rummage sale to them.  Nancy and Das Borden and Penney and Clyde Roberts were sponsors of the EYC at this time.  From May 1975 through August 1975, Grace Church’s “Poor Box” (located in the Narthex) contributed $1,609.71 to the World Hunger Fund.

In June of 1975 the “Organ Fund” was started with an anonymous donation of $25.00.

The proposed budget of Grace Church for 1976 was $48,647.66.  The diocese was assessing each congregation at this time $8.00 per communicant.  With a $48,600 budget, Grace fell into the 23 percent category for “the Diocesan Asking” (these asking and pledged amounts from each congregation is how the diocese planned their budget).  The Vestry voted to send the full asking of 23 percent to the Diocese that year.  The $8.00 per communicant plus the 23 percent asking pledge was a large commitment for a church our size.

The parish house was used for a number of community activities during Dick Kim’s tenure.  To name a couple:  the Girl Scouts and the Mothers’ Morning Out.  During Mothers’ Morning Out, father Kim had a service for the older children, refreshments, and lunch.  On occasion, there were as many as 18 infants and/or children.

During the year 0f 1976, Bert Saywell resigned as the Memorial and Remembrance Fund Chairman, and Gordon Ryland accepted the position.  The Memorial and Remembrance Fund was established on December 18, 1955, to be used only for the construction of, or modification of the church or parish house, or to purchase real property.

The Reverend Richard Kim received the DAR Americanism award from the Chief Colbert Chapter at a ceremony at Grace Church, on June 15, 1975.  The medal presented to an adult naturalized citizen who has shown outstanding ability in trustworthiness, service, leadership, and patriotism.  In 1976, he was selected as the Shoals Area Citizen of the Year in religion (Florence Times).  Fr. Kim had become known throughout the Shoals area for carrying the church to the people outside.

Fr. Kim accepted the challenge to promote a program that led to the building of Grace Episcopal Church.  Mr. Howard Griffith, architect, was contacted about the sketches he had done of the proposed church.  Plans had to be drawn and ideas modified.  Committees were appointed.  Dr. Wyatt Blake, III, was the Advanced Gifts Chairman.  Mr. L. Carlton Salter job and was the Finance Chairman.  Mr. John Savage worked with Mr. Salter and later took over the job as finance Chairman.  Mr. A. L. Clark (Ab) was the Building Committee Chairman.  Many members of Grace Church were appointed to committees and served well.  Vestry members who served through this period of about three years were:  Dr. Joseph Booth, Messrs. John Savage, Carlton Salter, Clyde Roberts, Arthur Howard, Jim Frederickson, Ab Clark, Estes Sherrill, Ron Floyd, Clyde (Bill) Campbell, Sam Mitchell, Jr., Michael Ford, Ron Kirkland, Jim Kelly, Dick Stutts, and Dr. Wyatt H. Blake, III, and Mmes. Harriet Carson, Darcy Strickland, May Woodie Christopher, and Paula Campbell.

Altar Guild members during this period included: Miss Katherine Cooke, Mrs. Mary Grahl, Mrs. Flo McDonnell, Mrs. Martha Clement, Mrs. Phyllis Cabaniss, Mrs. Barbara Clepper, Mr. A.E.  Reason (Vic), Mrs. Harry Couch (Christine), Mrs. May Woodie Christopher, Mrs. Jacque Stutts, Mrs. Susan Kirkland, Mrs. Barbara Sherrill, Mrs. Harvey Titus, and Mrs. Hattie Morgan.

Fundraising for the new church began in April of 1976.  In June, because of ill health, Mr. Howard Griffith made a contract with Hill, Howard, and Nix to help him complete the architectural work on the church.  This firm had been working with Mr. Griffith for some time.  Hill, Howard, and Nix would be able to take over should Howard Griffith’s health prevent him from finishing the project.  Sadly, Mr. Griffith died, so this firm was hired to complete the building of the church.  Bids were opened on August 17, 1977.  The cost of the church building was around a half million dollars (estimate at October 3, 1977, vestry meeting was $431,684).  Hall and Watson, builders, were awarded the contract.

Zoning had been taken care of and permission from Mr. Elton Darby had been granted to Grace Church, in writing, to use the parking lot across the street.  By November 10, 1976, $81,000 had been collected and pledges for the Building Fund were already in had for 1977, so Ab Clark moved, at the November 10, 1976, vestry meeting that the vestry present a plan (based on a $225,000 loan) through the Finance Committee to the congregation for consideration.  Mike Ford moved that the vestry recommend that the church borrow this amount and begin construction.  The motion passed.

At a congregational meeting on December 1, 1976, Mr. Carlton Salter, Chairman of the Finance Committee presented the plan for financing the building program.  Jim Frederickson, Senior Warden presided.  At this time, the estimated cost of the church was $340,000.  On hand was $92,557; $10,557 had been pledged for the rest of the year 1976; $25,021 was already pledged for the year 1977 and $32,000 was pledged for payment in 1978.  Grace Church wanted to borrow $211,863 for 15 years at 9 percent interest.  Sam McCutchen moved that Grace Church move forward with the building program as proposed by the Finance Committee and recommended by the vestry.  There were two seconds to this motion, Joe Booth and Robert Proctor.  Thirty-nine members voted in favor; four members voted against the plan; and seven members abstained.

Since all Episcopal Church property belongs to the diocese, it was necessary at an early time (December 8, 1976 vestry meeting) for the vestry to adopt a resolution for building and for borrowing a given sum—to be approved by the Diocesan Council and the Standing Committee of the Diocese before the money could be borrowed.  The resolution, which was adopted by Grace Church, allowed the church to borrow up to $240,000, not exceeding 15 years, at 9 percent interest per annum.  Mr. Salter moved for adoption of the motion; Mr. Clark seconded the motion. Eight members of the vestry voted for adoption; two members voted against; and two members abstained.

Upon approval from the Diocese $240,000 was borrowed from the First federal, Florence, Alabama, and $100,000 was borrowed from Bank Independent (a short term loan).  The $240,000 was for a period of 18 years at 9.5 percent interest; there was a commitment charge of 1 percent and a nominal closing cost, allowing 18 months for building.  First federal wanted a signed application but did not require signatures of the vestry and/or the congregation as did the Sheffield Federal.  At the September 8, 1977, vestry meeting, Mr. Salter reported that the loan with First Federal had been secured.  By September, because of the necessity of a new contract with Hill, Howard, and Nix and a few modifications to the plans, both Dr. Blake and Mr. Savage thought that a more realistic figure for the building would be $465,000 due to the delays and rising costs of building materials.  An important side note to all of this is that the Howard of Hill, Howard and Nix is none other than Arthur Howard, Jr., son of Cecil and Arthur Howard, members of Grace Church.

When the excavation began, more rock was found that had not been detected on preliminary soundings. To remove this rock would require $26,000.  The job was a difficult one because blasting would be necessary.  This additional cost necessitated making compromises in the construction of the building.  A tower, a small chapel, and a connector between the parish house and the church were eliminated from the plans.  The contract with Hill, Howard, and Nix was changed to allow cost plus 10 percent, not to exceed $26,000 for removing the rock.

The Diocesan Capital Advance Fund Drive was underway to benefit Camp McDowell—to build a conference center, to make camp improvements; also to help with campus ministries; repair campus facilities; acquire new church properties; and to give a gift to the University of the South, etc.  Wyatt Blake was appointed as the Advance Gift chairman and Charles O’Donnell was appointed to be in charge of the parish canvass.  The drive was successful at Grace Church in spite of its own Building Fund Drive.  Pledges were to be made over a three-year period.

On August 3, 1977, Father Kim gave the vestry his letter of resignation.  He had accepted a call to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Walluka, Maui, Hawaii, which was to be effective September 1, 1977.  Mr. Salter reminded the vestry that Grace Church had made a commitment some 12 to 15 years before to build a church, so Father Kim’s leaving should not affect our commitment.  Father Kim’s being at Grace Church had made building the church a real possibility.  Mr. Salter continued, “his service has been a blessing to us, and he shall be missed by the entire community.”

After Hawaii, father Kim went to Michigan where he was rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Lexington from 1981 till 1987.  While there he was the founder and president of the Blue Water Hospice, Port Huron, Michigan, 1981 to 1983, he was the dean of the Blue Water Convocation, 1981 to 1983.  Fr. Kim was the founder of the Area Project Blessing in 1983 and the chaplain for the Metropolitan Police in 1990.  Fr. Kim also received the Michigan State Senate contingent Resolution of Commendation for founding Project Blessing.  In 1994 he became the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Detroit, Michigan.



The Reverend Carl Connell Bright

1997 was a busy year with the construction the new church building and the vestry leading the search for a new rector.  Efforts were made to keep things as normal as possible.  Bill Campbell had the duty of scheduling the lay readers.  The “The Every Member Canvas” had to be accomplished and a Christmas party scheduled for the entire congregation.  The Reverend Dr. Mullen, of Trinity Church, Florence celebrated the midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve.  The church secretary, Mrs. Frances Hodges, kept all the routine duties running smoothly and kept communications open for the church officers.  Estes Sherrill was the senior warden in 1977, and Joseph Booth was the junior warden.  Joe Booth was elected the senior warden for 1978, and John Savage was elected the junior warden.

On February 12, 1978, Joe Booth, John Savage, Sam Mitchell, and Hermine Wilson, members of the Search Committee attend the service at the Church of the Ascension, Montgomery, to observe the Reverend Carl Bright celebrating and preaching at their 11:00 a.m. service.  The Committee was favorably impressed and requested that the Vestry invite him to visit Sheffield on the weekend of March 3.  The members of the Search Committee prepared a dinner in honor of the Brights that Saturday evening; and Fr. Bright celebrated and preached at the 11:00 a.m. service on Sunday.

At a special meeting on March 12, the Vestry voted to issue a call to Fr. Bright to be the next rector of Grace Church.  Fr. Bright brought the enthusiasm of the Renewal Movement to Grace Church.  Fr. Bright and Joe Booth attended a renewal weekend conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, led by the Reverend John Guest, a renowned English Evangelist.

By October, the new church building was nearing completion.  On October 25, after the Grace Church Halloween Party and dinner a “Special Called Meeting” of the Vestry was held to consider the purchase of a pipe organ.  The Senior Warden reported that there was $3,000 in the Organ Fund and an addition gift of $7,000 was to be given along with the earning from the Episcopal Church Women’s Annual Bazaar.  Also other memorial funds given to Grace Church were to be put into the organ fund.  The Vestry voted to proceed with the purchase of the new pipe organ.  The organ selected was built by the Moller Pipe Organ Company, and was installed in late 1979.  Fr. Bright’s knowledge of being able to play an organ and his valuable knowledge of the instrument was invaluable in the selection and installation of the new organ.  Grace Church gave their existing organ to St. Simon Peter, Pell City, Alabama.

Grace Church’s generosity resulted in a warm relationship between the two congregations.  Members of Grace Church were invited to Pell City for a service in their new facility, and to attend a picnic in their honor at the lake home of a parishioner of St. Simon Peter.  Grace Church reciprocated to St. Simon Peter’s generosity and invited their congregation to visit for a service on Sunday and a picnic in Blake Hall.

Furnishings and light fixtures for the new church were designated as memorials with many members purchasing them in memory of loved ones.  Mr. Rodney Carter who made the first contribution towards the new building of $40,000 also made further memorial gifts as did many other members of Grace Church who had given graciously and generously to the Building Fund.  The Rose Window, over the choir loft, was given by Rodney Carter in honor and thanksgiving for the Reverend Richard Kim.  It was only through the generosity of many members of Grace Church that made the building of the new church building possible.

The cornerstone of the new church building was laid on November 5, 1978.  On the evening of December 18, 1978, the Rt. Reverend Furman C. Stough came to Sheffield and officially installed the Reverend Carl Bright as rector and dedicated the new church building.  The Reverend Richard Kim who had given the impetus and energy to build the new church building was unable to attend the dedication as he was now the rector of Good Shepherd Church in Hiwaii.  However, his daughter, daughter, Dorothy, a student at Auburn University was in attendance for the service and the laying of the cornerstone.

Dr. Wyatt Blake, Jr., who died in 1981, left Grace Episcopal Church a bequest of $100,000 in his Will.  The bequest was to be applied to pay off the cost of the building.  With it, the second mortgage was paid, and the remainder was invested in a CD at the best interest available.  The income from this investment was used to amortize the debt.  Miss Ada Saywell left her home on Annapolis Avenue to Grace Church in her Will.  The sale of her home resulted in another bequest of $21,000 toward the payment for the new Church building.

The Reverend Carl Bright was born on July 16, 1938, in Montgomery, Alabama.  He was the son of Henry Clay Bright and Asa Marie Burgess.  He married Caroline Mushat Marbury, on August 12, 1960.  He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1960, and had a successful career in the real estate and investment business in Birmingham, Alabama.  He joined the ROTC at Auburn and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps attaining the rank of captain with six years experience.

After several years in the business world Carl entered and was selected in the ordination process in the Diocese of Alabama.  Carl attended the seminary at the Sewanee, Tennessee.  He was ordained Deacon at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, May 1976.  It was reported in an article in the June 1976 issue of The Alabama Churchman the he was presented for ordination by the Reverend Hugh Agricola, of Birmingham; and Mr. John W. Davis III, of Montgomery.  The Litanist for the service was the Reverend Gary Fulton, of the Church of the Nativity, Huntsville; and the lector was Mr. Benjamin H. Nelson; and the Epistoler was Mr. Ross H. Blackstock, both seminarians from Sewanee.  He was ordained by the Rt. Reverend Furman C. Stough, 8th Bishop of Alabama.  He was ordained a Priest on December 17, 1976, by Bishop Stough.  Fr. Bright’s presenters were the Reverend Mark Waldo, Rector of Ascension Church, Montgomery; his wife, Mrs. Caroline Bright; and Mrs. Taylor Dawson of the Church of the Ascension, Montgomery.

Fr. Bright, his wife Caroline; sons Chris and Farley; and their daughter Asa; arrived at Grace Church, Sheffield, in September of 1978.  They purchased a home in Tuscumbia; a place that was to reflect their warm hospitable personalities to all that entered.  The Bright’s home always had the welcome mat out for the members of Grace Church.

Fr. Bright’s first Vestry meeting as rector at Grace Church was held on August 16, 1978 in Blake Hall.  Vestry members in 1978 were as follows:  Dr. Joseph H. Booth, Sr., Dr. Wyatt Blake, III, Mmes. Paula Campbell and May Woodie Christopher; Messers. John Savage, Ron Floyd, Sam Mitchell, Jr., Carlton Salter, Jim Kelly, Ron Kirkland, Michael Ford, and Dick Stutts.  Miss Hermine Wilson was Clerk of the Vestry.

In November 1978, the Grace Church Vestry passed a resolution for Bishop Stough’s approval, to license two chalice bearers to assist the priest in the service of Holy Communion.  The Vestry recommended Dr. Joseph Booth, Sr. and Mr. Charles H. Patton.  They received approval from the Bishop and were duly installed.  This was the first time that Grace Church had licensed chalice bearers.

The 1980 Vestry include the following members:  Pride Tompkins, Jim Morgan, Ray Balch, Jim Kelly, Sam Mitchell, Jr., Martha Farr, Bridget Moore, Bob Blackwell, Millard Jumper, Charles Patton, Paula Campbell, and Dick Stutts.  Jim Kelly was elected Senor Warden and Ray Balch was elected Junior Warden.

A Vestry Retreat was held on February 8-9, 1980, at Camp McDowell in the beautiful new Stough Lodge.  The Grace Church Vestry was the first group to be served in the dinning room and new kitchen facilities.  The retreat gave members an opportunity to study their duties and leaders as vestrypersons, and to set goals for the new year.

The Reverend Dick Gilchrist, St. Bartholomew’s, Florence, and the Reverend Jim Lilly, Trinity Church, Florence coordinated the Lenten Services for the Shoals Area Episcopal Churches in 1980.  The three Episcopal Churches worked together to make this a successful Lenten journey for all who attended.  This cooperative effort on the part of the three congregations made for a more unified Episcopal presence for the Shoal’s area.

In March 1980, Jim Kelly presented his bookstore proposal to the Vestry of Grace Church.  The purpose was to have more religious literature available at a lower cost in the community.  The store would operate as a separate non-profit organization with the ownership and assets belonging to Grace Church.  The rector was to be consulted on the publications to be for sale in the store.  Jim Kelly’s proposal was accepted by the Grace Church Vestry and operated successfully for a number of years.

In 1981, the Christus Rex (cross) which is positioned on the wall behind the altar, was given in memory of Mrs. John (Helen) Clement by her family.  The memorial stained glass window, depicting John the Baptist in the Nave behind the altar were given in memory of Carlton Salter; and the other window in the nave depicting the Last Supper was given in memory of Robert Proctor by the Proctor family.

The 1981 Vestry included Mr. Nicholas B. Ware, Jr., Mr. Charles Patton, Mrs. Bridget Moore, Mrs. Martha Farr, Mr. Jim Morgan, Mr. Frank Potter, Mr. Bob Blackwell, Mr. Kenneth King, Dr. Joseph Booth, Judge Pride Tompkins, Mr. Ray Balch, and Dr. Wyatt Blake, III.  Dr. Blake was Senior Warden; Mr. Blackwell, Junior Warden; Miss Hermine Wilson, Clerk.

After the 10:45 service, on May 17, 1981, the Vestry signed a resolution to admit Robert Blackwell as candidate as a Postulate for Holy Orders (Endorsement of Application for Postulancy).  Certificate suggested under Title III, Canon 2, Section 4.

Members of the Altar Guild during Fr. Carl Bright’s tenure were: Miss Katherine Cooke, Mrs. Nick Ware (Evelyn), Mrs. Harry Grahl (Mary), Mrs. Aubrey Moore (Bridget), Mrs. James Morgan (Hattie), Mrs. Thomas Christopher (May Woodie), Mrs. Ronald Kirkland (Susan), Mrs. Dick Stutts (Jacque), and Mrs. Arthur Howard (Cecil).

Licensed Chalice Bearers in 1981 included Dr. Wyatt Blake, III; and Sam Mitchell, Jr.; and Jim Kelly.

The 1982 Vestry of Grace Church was as follows:  Dr. Joseph Booth, Mr. Nick Ware II, Mr. Hunter Byington, Dr. Wyatt Blake, III; Mr. John Savage; Mr. Clyde (Bill) Campbell; Mrs. Bridget Moore, Mr. Kenneth King; Mr. Frank Potter; Mrs. Janet Bell; Judge Pride Tompkins; and Mr. Sidney Saywell.  Mr. Sam Mitchell, Jr.; was Treasurer; and Mr. Nick Ware Sr., was elected Senior Warden; and Hunter Byington, Junior Warden.

The Shoals Episcopal Foundation was incorporated in March 1982.  Those involved in bringing this about were the Reverend Carl Bright, and Dr. Wyatt Blake, III, from Grace Church; and the Reverend Jim Lilly, Mr. Joe Ware, from Trinity Church, Florence; and Mr. Bob Tomlinson, from St. Bartholomew’s, Florence.  The governing board was made up of the rector and two lay people from each of the respective Episcopal churches of the Shoals.  The primary purpose of the Episcopal Foundation was to bring outstanding speakers to the area.  Dr. Wyatt Blake, III, and Mrs. Janet Bell were elected by the Vestry of Grace Church to serve a 4 year term on the board.  Grace church released some $2,000 to the Foundation as seed money to inaugurate the treasury of the Foundation.  This money was left over from a speaking engagement by the Reverend Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross held at the Norton Auditorium of the University of North Alabama, Florence; sponsored by Grace Church and directed by their rector the Reverend Dick Kim.

During this time Grace Church had organized a Men’s Club, a Chapter of the Brotherhood of St. Ambrose, both of which were very active in doing ministry, etc.

The Reverend Carl Bright was elected to the Diocesan Council at the Diocesan Convention in January of 1982.  Fr. Bright also served on the Secretariat, the governing board of the Cursillo Movement.  The Cursillo Movement was a new and exciting lay led weekend retreat held in the Diocese.  Bishop Stough was instrumental in bringing and activating this movement in the Diocese of Alabama.  Grace Church had three couples at the very first Cursillo ever held in the Diocese, they were as follows:  Joe and Jane Booth, Charlie and Bettie Patton, John and Charlotte Savage.  Fr. Carl Bright was the first rector of Grace Church to attend Cursillo along with his wife Caroline and he was instrumental in involving many people from Grace in this new and exciting lay weekend.  Cursillo is a planned spiritual enrichment weekend for all those attending consisting of fifteen talks given by lay persons and clergy on a team that presents each one to lay and ordained persons who are known as pilgrims.  The Diocese began planning several of these week ends a year for all interested laypersons and clergy from all over the Diocese to attend.  These weekends were usually held at Camp McDowell.  The weekends proved to be an exciting and rewarding time for all attending as it brought renewal and strengthened ones spiritual life.  New friends are made from all parts of the Diocese while God’s grace and love is experienced and explored by all who attend.

During this time in Grace Church’s history the Vestry struggled with the complications resulting from the burden of the mortgage payments on the new church.  The Vestry struggled with the stewardship of the congregation having to pay the mortgage and maintain its obligation to meet the Diocesan Askings, both of which the Vestry took very seriously as a moral obligation to be met.

The 1983 Vestry was composed of the following members:  Mr. Sid Saywell; Mr. Clyde (Bill) Campbell, Mr. Nick Ware, Jr.’ Mr. Kenneth King; Mr. John Savage; Mrs Sara Jo Cherry; Mrs. Bobbie Kelly, Mr. Laurence (Red) Church; Dr. Joe Booth, Mr. Hunter Byington; Dr. Wyatt Blake, III; and Mr. Sam Mitchell, Jr.  Dr. Wyatt Blake, III was elected Senior Warden; and Mr. Hunter Byington was elected Junior Warden.

The Annual Parish Report for 1982 showed that a mid-week service was being offered on Wednesday evening, beginning in July.  The evenings consisted of a Bible Study and Hymn singing led by Fr. Bright ‘s talent in playing the piano.  This became a very popular new addition to the worship and fellowship of Grace Church.

Mrs. Darcy Strickland, the president of the ECW in 1982, reported that 15 to 20 women attended the meetings regularly during the year.  In the 1982, the women made $2,900 on luncheons, the selling of cookbooks, their bazaar, and a newly established pledge system whereby the women pledged a given amount toward the ECW.  They took in $294 for the United Thank Offering and $252 for the Katherine Titus Fund.  The ECW also pledge $150 to the Diocesan ECW; and spent $1,266 on the purchase of new Altar hangings, $40 for a grill; a contribution to Safe Place, the Attention Home, the Blackwell’s Seminary Fund, and sent money to the Memorial Role (Scholarships for Diocesan ECW, and gave $1,000 to the Vestry of Grace Church to apply towards the pledge to the Diocesan Askings.  Once again, the ECW of Grace Church responded to the needs of others and the support of their own congregation.

In 1983, Fr. Bright and Mr. Charles Patton became involved in the Kiaros Prison Ministry.  Kairos is a lay ministry which has evolved out of the Cursillo Movement and is patterned like their weekends.  The weekends are given in the prisons to inmates selected by the Chaplains to attend.  The weekends take place inside the locked walls of the prison where the inmates come and experience God’s love and grace available to them even in prison.

In addition to its regularly scheduled meetings, the 1983 Vestry of Grace Church began meeting monthly on an informal basis with no business agenda.  This 1983 Vestry believed that they had an obligation to be spiritual leaders of the congregation, as well as being the stewards of the parish’s worldly business.  Their plan was to study God’s word together, hoping this would make them stronger as a Vestry to understand and deal with all the needs of the congregation that had elected them to serve.

Delegates to the Diocesan Convention in 1983 were as follows:  Mrs. Joseph (Jane) Booth; Mr. Aubrey (Bridget) Moore; and Dr. Wyatt Blake, III.  Alternates were Dr. Joe Booth; Mr. Sam Mitchell, Jr.; and Mr. Kenneth King.

On August 21, 1983, after the Sunday morning service, the Vestry endorsed the Application for Postulancy for Gary Baldwin.  Gary had been a member of Grace Church for some time ahd had taught an adult Sunday School class.  He was a Bible scholar and very effective teacher.

On October 18, 1983, the Vestry signed the form recommending Bob Blackwell for Ordination to the Diaconate.  This form was forwarded to the Diocesan Standing Committee (through Bishop Stough).  Bob Blackwell was ordained a Transitional Deacon on May 29, 1984, in Grace Church.

The 1984 Vestry members were as follows:  Mr. Laurence (Red) Church, Senior Warden, Mr. Hunter Byington, Junior Warden; Mr. Sam Mitchell, Jr.; Mr. Rufus Obrecht; Mrs. Bobbie Kelly; Mrs. Sara Jo Cherry; Mrs. Susan Kirkland; Mr. Clyde (Bill) Campbell, Mrs. Sid Saywell; Mr. Jim Morgan, Mr. Bob Garfrerick, and Mr. John Savage.

The delegates to the 1984 Diocesan Convention, held in February at St. John’s Church in Montgomery, Alabama were as follows:  Mrs. Bobbie Kelly, Dr. Joe Booth, Mr. Sam Mitchell, Jr.  And alternates were Mr. Bob Garfrerick; Mrs. Sam (Dixie) Mitchell, Jr.; and Jim Kelly.

Dr. Wyatt Blake, III, and Mr. Jim Kelly were recommended by the Vestry to be Chalice Bearers for the year 1984.

Fr. Bright took part of his Sabbatical leave for a tour of the Holy Land.  After Fr. Bright’s return a called meeting of the Vestry was held where Fr. Bright announced that he had accepted a call to be the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Florence, South Carolina, effective the first Sunday of July 1984.

A record of Fr. Bright’s ministry to the church shows that he served at Grace Episcopal Church, Anniston, Alabama; the first and founding rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast a position he held for 13 years.  Fr. Bright retired in December of 2003.  The Bright’s retired to the Shoals buying a home on Wilson Lake and returning to Grace Church as members of the congregation.


The Vestry of Grace Church met on June 24, 1984, with Miss Betty Roberts, a member of the Diocesan Staff.  She was appointed by Bishop Stough as Grace Church’s Search Consultant.  The entire Vestry along, with church members desiring to serve on the committee, were at this organization meeting which became the Search Committee.  The Vestry also planned a coffee after the Sunday Service in order to ascertain ideas from the congregation as to the qualities and attributes they desired in a new priest.

On August 11, 1984, a delegation of nine members made a trip to Valdosta, Georgia, to interview the Reverend Jack C. Hennings, Jr.  After a favorable meeting the committee invited the Hennings to Grace church for a weekend visit on August 23-25, 1984.  Members attend a cover dish dinner on Saturday evening in order to meet and talk with the Hennings.  On August 31, 1984, at a meeting of the Vestry and Search Committee, the Reverend Jack C. Hennings, Jr. was issued a call to become the rector of Grace Church.

The Reverend Jack C. Hennings, Jr., was born in Forsyth, Georgia, January 27, 1947, the son of Jack C. Hennings and Eleanor Stone.  He received a BBA Degree in 1970, from the University of Georgia.  He married Debra Ann Cason on August 22, 1970.  Upon graduation from the University of Georgia Fr. Hennings worked for seven (7) years at the U. S. Department of Agriculture, in Georgia, first as the county executive director at Dublin, Georgia, then as the State Director. (Time Daily, October 20, 1984).

Fr. Henning’s received his Masters of Divinity in 1982, and his degree in Sacred Theology (STM), in 1983 from the Nashota House in Wisconsin.  He was ordained a transitional Deacon in March of 1982, and was ordained to the Priesthood in November of 1982 by Bishop Reeves of the Diocese of Georgia.  Fr. Hennings was the assistant Rector at Christ Church, Valdosta, Georgia from 1983 to 1984.

The Right Reverend Furman C. Stough, Bishop of Alabama instituted Fr. Hennings as the Rector of Grace Church at a service on January 27, 1985.  The flowers on the altar for that service were given to the glory of God by Eleanor Hennings, the mother of Fr. Hennings.  Those serving as the Altar Guild for that evening were Susan Kirland, May Woodie Christopher, Cecil Howard and Suzanne Smith.  The following persons served as the altar party that evening:  Darcy Strickland, layreader; Joe Booth, Jr. as the Bishop’s Chaplain; Charlie Farr was first Crucifer; Hugh Smith was second Crucifer; Carol Lee Farr, Shannon Kirkland, Beverly Borden, Ashley Savage, Chip Cherry, and Christy Cherry were Torch Bearers; and Keith Hennings was the Bible Bearer.  Randy Terry was the organist.  John Savage, Roger Moore, and Nick Ware, Jr. were ushers.

Father Henning began his ministry as rector at Grace Church on October 1, 1984.  At his first Vestry meeting he was very organized and presented an ambitious schedule which included a Eucharist and breakfast on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7:30 a.m. with a Bible study following breakfast on Thursday morning.  Fr. Hennings appointed Hermine Wilson as the chairperson of the Evangelism Committee (this committee would follow the guidelines he had worked out for welcoming new members and getting them involved in the church activities).  Fr. Hennings set up a several special Sunday School class for newcomers—one class on the Book of Common Prayer; one class on the history of the Episcopal Church; and a class on the history of Grace Episcopal Church.  He proposed the building of a playground as a memorial.  This playground became a reality and quickly became the center of activities for our younger members.

Fr. Hennings was a sailing buff, and wanted to live near the water.  He and his family (Debra, Keith, and Russell) first moved to Martin Drive on Wilson Lake and eventually from there they moved to another place on the Florence side of the lake.

Debra Hennings was an interior designer and a member of ASID.  Her business was established in Florence where it flourished during the four years they spent at Grace Church.  Debra Hennings was also a musician with a solo quality soprano voice.  She was called on often to sing and play the piano at Grace Church.  Debra also sang in the Grace Choir and with other local vocal groups in the Shoals.  Debra’s talents in interior decoration were always tapped for many projects around Grace Church.

In 1985, the following resolution of the Vestry was sent to Bishop Stough recommending the following Chalice Bearers:  Waytt Blake, III, Sam Mitchell, Jr., James M. Kelly, Charles Patton, Joe Booth, Robert Garfrerick, Ronald W. Kirkland, John Savage and Bruce Cherry.  The 1985 Vestry members were as follows:  Sam Mitchell, Jr., Senior Warden; Robert Garfrerick, Junior Warden; Joe H. Booth, Wyatt Blake; Rufus Obrecht; Jim Morgan, Laurence (Red) Church; Bobbie Kelly, Nancy Borden; Sara Jo Cherry, and Danny Kimbrough.

The Vestry in an effort to fulfill their duties and objectives in a spiritual way, spent many hours sharing and discussing what the qualities and duties are of a vestry person.  The results of this sharing produced the following statement by the Vestry:

Grace Church Strives: To do God’s will by developing and nurturing the basic spiritual needs of a diverse congregation.  Inherent in this development is the importance of recognizing each others’ individual’s needs.  We must foster both our attitudes and involvement in outreach and evangelism.

We understand that it is through the vitality of our worship—our sacramental emphasis, our prayer ministries, and our living attitudes that we will be empowered and enable by God.

During this time in the life of the parish, members of Grace Church were looking forward to the day when all the windows in the church would be filled with beautiful stained glass.  Wipell of England made the stained glass windows behind the altar.  At the time of their installation Wipell presented a plan for the remaining windows depicting the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.  Grace Church had adopted this plan and offered them to the congregation as an opportunity to make a memorial or thanksgiving gift to the church.  During this time the church was blessed with a gift of the the “Mary and Martha” window given by the Grace Church ECW as a tribute to all the work and ministries of the many women at Grace Church.  In 1985, Mr. Rodney Carter donated money for the two stained glass windows in the Narthex of the Church.  These beautiful windows depicted “The Creation,” and “The Nativity of our Lord Jesus.”

During Fr. Hennings’ tenure his love for the water took him on a once-in-a-lifetime experience as he and Debra accompanied the Das Borden family on their pleasure boat as the “first pleasure craft,” to go down the newly opened Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (a newly constructed waterway to the gulf for barges and other water traffic).  The “Eddie Waxler Barge” was the first commercial barge to navigate this waterway.  During the cruise Fr. Hennings was asked to bless the waterway and each lock as they approached it.  The rector did so fully vested with Das, Nancy, and Debra serving as acolytes and flag bearers.  This must have been an impressive and memorable sight for those who were able to observe.

Fr. Hennings also spearhead the organization of the Shoals Ministry to the Deaf.  He offered the historic St. John’s church building in Tuscumbia as a place to hold their worship services.  The Venerable Camille L. Desmarais. Rector of St. John’s for the Deaf, Birmingham and Canon to the Deaf for the Diocese of Alabama, offered to celebrate Holy Communion at St. John’s, Tuscumbia, twice a month.  At that time the greater Shoals area had the second largest deaf population in Alabama.  Pam Clayton, and John Ford, members of Grace Church were trained in signing for the Deaf.  Pam and John alternated signing at Grace Church each Sunday during this time.  A grant was applied for through the Urban Task Force of Alabama, to fund a building revision at St. John’s, Tuscumbia, allowing it to be a parochial school for the deaf.  Sadly, the grant was never approved and eventually plans were discontinued for this ministry.  The Deaf Community’s hopes and dreams for a place of their own to worship was not realized at this time.

Fr. Hennings was appointed by Bishop Stough to serve as a member of the Diocesan Department of Parish Development.  The Bishop wanted to adopt the Evangelism Program used at Grace Church making it the diocesan program for Evangelism.  During this time Fr. Hennings was appointed to serve on the National Task Force, which met in Kansas City to establish a National Committee on Evangelism for the Church.  Fr. Hennings became a member of this committee.

During this time in the life of Grace Church Danny Kimbrough was the Sunday School Superintendent and Jane Barnett was the Parish Secretary.

In 1985 during Fr. Hennings tenure a “Concert Series” was initiated.  Mrs. Dorothy Griffith and Mr. Church Thompson (organist at Nashota House) were the first two musicians to present programs.  Mrs. Griffith was a pianist, and the mother of Mrs. Ann Ezelle a member of Grace Church.  Mr. Thompson presented a concert and conducted a “Music Workshop: for small church choirs.  The Sheffield Centennial Celebration was also being held during this time and Grace Church graciously participated having an open house on May 19-25, 1985.

Also, in 1985, Fr. Hennings invited the Shoals Symphony Orchestra to make Grace Church its new home.  Mrs. Betty Dardess was the executive director of the Symphony at this time.  Blake Hall became its base of operations for rehearsals, music lessons and performances.  The Symphony really became home to the Symphony and would enjoy our buildings for many years to come.  They used Blake Hall for Dinner Concerts, and used one of the rooms in the undercroft of Blake Hall as their official office and storage area.  Jim Morgan, a member of Grace Church played the Tuba in the orchestra and served as a Board Member.  Mrs. Nell Pendleton (now a member of Grace Church), became Executive Director in later years.  The Symphony used Grace Church up until 2002, when it moved to the University of North Alabama in Florence.

Another lay ministry developed during this time was the Pastoral Calling Committee.  Mary Frances White was its first chairperson.  They visited the shut-ins of the parish on a regular basis.  They also inaugurated Three Luncheons and Tea for the shut-ins and senior members of the community.  active members were Flo McDonnell, Mary Grahl, Virginia Clark, Mary and Frank Potter, Marian Obrecht Richardson, Jane and Joe Booth, Danny Hovater, Bettie Patton, Nancy Borden, Red Church, Cecil Howard, and Hermine Wilson.  Luncheons were served most attractively; tables were decorated in keeping with the seasons; and the good cooks at Grace Church provided a culinary delight (meal) and a pleasant day for the senior members of the congregation and community.

Licensed layreaders during this time were Joe Booth, Darcy Strickland, Philip Nance, Bridget Moore, and Wyatt Blake, III. Chalice Bearers during this time were as follows:  Sam Mitchell, Jr.; Jim Kelly; Charles Patton; Bob Garfrerick; Ron Kirkland, John Savage, Bruce Cherry, Nancy Borden, Darcy Strickland, and Bobbie Kelly.

The 1986 Vestry were as follows: Bob Garfrerick, (Senior Warden); Danny Kimbrough, (Junior Warden); Joe H. Booth; Jim Morgan;  Wyatt Blake, III,; Darcy Strickland; Dennis Stuter; Ray Balch; John Ford; Susan Kirkland; Rufus Obrecht; and Nancy Borden.  Ms. Lou Fairer was also hired as the administrative assistant, replacing Mrs. Frances Hodges.

Fr. Hennings was appointed as a spiritual Director of the Happening Movement a position he held from 1986 to 1988.  Happening is the Cursillo program for 10 to 12th graders.  The very first Happening was held at Grace Church in 1986 with Fr. Roy Elam, and Fr. Jack Hennings as the Spiritual Advisors.

Several noteworthy activities during this time were held by the parish as follows: 1) the parish hosted Bishop Stough for his annual visitation and confirmation on April 25-27, 1986 with a hot dog roast for the Young People at St. Bartholomew’s on Saturday; and Confirmations for the Shoals Area Churches on Sunday.  The Reception on Sunday was hosted by Grace Church with the ECW’s of all three churches helping and making it a grand affair for all who came.  2) Charles Patton was chairman for the Diocesan Capital Funds Drive which raised money to make improvements at Camp McDowell; improvements for the college ministries at Auburn and Alabama; and other projects such as the buying of land for new parishes and parish development, etc.  3) the Reverend Sherrod Mallow served as the Shoals Episcopal Missioner serving the three churches and the campus ministry at the University of North Alabama. 4) Nancy Borden and Bob Garfrerick were elected to serve on the Shoals Episcopal Foundation Board as representatives of Grace Church.  4) The Reverend Robert O. Miller, Rector of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Indian Springs Village, was elected as Bishop Suffragan for the Diocese of Alabama.

The Vestry of 1987 included as follows: Bruce Cherry, Jim Kelly, May Woodie Christopher; Charles Patton, Darcy Strickland; Wyatt Blake, III; Dennis Stuter; Nancy Borden; Ray Balch, Joseph H. Booth, John Ford; and Danny Kimbrough.  Mrs. Julie Gamble was appointed Treasurer, replacing Sam Mitchell, Jr. who retired.

In February of 1987, Grace Church hosted the Diocesan Convention as part of their Centennial Celebration.  Bob Garfrerick, Senior Warden was the Chairman for this monumental undertaking.  Bob worked closely with Ed Freeland, the Bishop’s Administrative Assistant in all the preparations for the Convention.  During this time Grace Church became completely focused on the Convention planning.  Bob Garfrerick’s organization and planning was done so efficiently with all pulling together that everything fell into place.  The entire congregation became immersed in the planning working towards making the Centennial Celebration a memorable one for all.

Every activity had to be planned precisely.  All the needs of the delegates and visitors had to be anticipated (In all there were 700 delegates, alternates, visitors, and local members that attended the Diocesan Convention).

.  A thorough house cleaning was in order for the entire physical plant which included painting here and there, floors cleaned, grounds manicured, etc.  Committees had to be formed and functional for publicity, traffic control and parking, special events, worship services, registration.  Bettie Patton did such a super job handling the registration of the delegates and visitors that Bishop Stough gave her the job permanently (a job she held until 2000).  Registration and the opening service was held at the Sheffield First Baptist Church with Evening Prayer.  A reception after the service was held at Blake Hall with Grace Church own young people’s singing group “The Joys of Grace” performing.  The Saturday morning Eucharist was held at Grace Church with a Continental Breakfast served following in Blake Hall.  The Convention met at the Ramada Inn for all of its Business Sessions.  Saturday evening a buffet dinner and music and dancing were held in the Ball Room of the Holiday Inn, Sheffield.  The music for the evening was provided by a local band from UNA, “The Little Big Band” led by Dr. Lyman Mitchell.  The closing Eucharist was held at the Sheffield Recreation Center.  The success of the Convention Committee was made possible by the special services given by the mayor of Sheffield; the Sheffield Police Department the Deacon Board of the Sheffield First Baptist Church; the management of the Ramada Inn and Holiday Inn; Metro Communications; Communi-Pak; the Greater Shoals Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Florence-Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

The closing Eucharist was held at the Sheffield Recreation Center, with the Reverend John Sewell, Rector of Christ Church Albertville, as the Master-of-Ceremonies.  The Shoals Area Episcopal Churches’ provided the choirs, and the instrumental music for the service was provided by the Charles Rose Brass Ensemble.  The sermon was given by the Very Reverend Robert Edward Giannini, Dean of the seminary at Sewanee.

Bishop Stough wrote a letter to the Reverend Jack Hennings, Rector of Grace Church.  Dated February 12, 1987, the letter said:  “Realizing fully the danger of pride, I still am sorry you could not be present to feel the warmth any rector would sense in hosting a Diocesan Convention. Particularly when it was done in such a superb fashion as Grace church did it last weekend.”  Continuing, “As you know, I have presided at seventeen annual conventions and can state honestly that you and your wonderful people have injected new standards of excellence which are bound to have significant impact on the life of the church in this diocese for the future.  It seemed to me that every detail had been considered graciously and sensitively, and I cannot think of a single thing which should have been done differently.”  Sadly Fr. Hennings was unable to attend the convention due to the sickness and death of his mother during this time.

In 1987, Grace Episcopal church became involved with the UNA Episcopal Alternative Group, an organization of Episcopal students.  The Reverend Sherrod Mallow was assigned to the Shoals churches by Bishop Stough to be the North Alabama Missioner whose duty it was to work with the three Episcopal congregations and be the Chaplain to  the Episcopal College Ministry at the University of North Alabama (UNA).  The Episcopal Foundation was also part of this cooperative work of the Diocese.  Nancy Borden and Bob Garfrerick were elected at this time to be Grace Church’s representatives on the Shoals Episcopal Foundation board.  The Episcopal Foundation brought our own bishop the Right Reverend Furman C. Stough to the Shoals for a teaching mission.

The 1988 Vestry for Grace Church were as follows:  Ray Balch; Bruce Cherry; Suzie Smith; Darcy Strickland; Jim Kelly; Charles Patton; David Springer; Jim Pettey; Hermine Wilson; May Woodie Christopher; Laurence (Red) Church; and Lola Scobey.  The following were elected to be delegates to the Diocesan Convention: Joe Booth; Charles Patton; and Danny Kimbrough.

In 1988, Bishop Stough created a new program in the Diocese for Extra-Ordinary Lay Eucharistic Ministers.  Those persons so licensed by the Bishop were able to take Holy Communion to shut-ins and the sick.  The rules governing this ministry stated that the Sacrament was to be taken immediately from the Sunday Service with the priest and congregation sending these person out with a prayer.  The total number of Extra-Ordinary Eucharistic Ministers, who could be licensed in any one congregation was governed by the number of communicants.  The following persons were so licensed at Grace Church: Nancy Borden; Jim Kelly; and Danny Kimbrough.  Other members of the congregation who were licensed as regular Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEM’s) were as follows: Ron Kirkland; Sam Mitchell, Jr.; Bobbie Kelly; John Savage; Bob Garfrerick; Bruce Cherry; Charles Patton; Jim Kelly; Darcy Strickland; Nancy Borden; Joel Love; Danny Kimbrough; and Lola Scobey.

Sonia Ford was the Sunday School Superintendent in 1988 and she had the following memorable Sunday School teachers: Sherry Foust; Susan Balch; Anita Rhodes; Bruce Cherry; Bob Green; Cam Martin; Jim Kelly; Delores Vinson; and Randy Terry.

Also in October of 1988, the ECW hosted the Tennessee Valley ECW Convocation.  The Right Reverend Charles Duvall, of the Central Gulf Coast Diocese was the guest speaker for this event.

Sadly, in November of 1988, the Reverend Jack C. Hennings, hastily resigned as Rector of Grace Church.  This was done at a specially called meeting of Vestry with the newly consecrated Bishop of Alabama, the Right Reverend Robert O. Miller present and concurring with his resignation.  Fr. Hennings’ resignation was due to accusations of misbehavior with no official charges filed requiring further action.  Fr. Jack C. Hennings accepted a position as Assistant Rector of the parish of San Clemente-by-the-Sea, San Clemente, California.

The year of 1988 ended on a happier note for Grace Church with the ordination of the Reverend Gary Baldwin to the priesthood by the Right Reverend Furman C. Stough at the Church of the Advent, Birmingham, Alabama.



            The Reverend Milton Thomas Glor became the rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Sheffield, September 1, 1989.  The Search Committee had been impressed with his qualifications, his straight forward manner, and his personal ideas of the mission of the Episcopal Church  in the world today.

In an interview with a reporter from the Times-Daily, the new rector said: “I see the parish as a community where people can share their diversities and similarities as they grow as a family of Christians, I see the parish as a place of shared leadership with a common goal and vision agreed upon by the rector, the vestry, and the people.”

Father Glor was ordained a Deacon on May 29, 1985, at St. Stephen’s, Episcopal Church, Huntsville, by Bishop Furman C. Stough.  He was ordained a Priest on December 15, 1985, in the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, Alabama, by Bishop Stough.  Before coming to Sheffield Fr. Glor served three small churches in the Black Belt area of Alabama.  They were his first churches to serve in his ordained ministry in the Diocese.  He faithfully served these churches for four and one-half years before accepting a call to Grace Church.  The three churches were St. James’, Livingston, St. Alban’s, Gainesville; and St. John’s in-the-Prairies, Forkland.  All three of the churches there were original historical Carpenter Gothic Churches built in the pre Civil War days.  They were all consecrated by Bishop Leonadis Polk, Bishop and later also a General in the Army of the Confederacy.

The Glors moved into a rental home on Marie Circle in the Cliff Haven sub-division in Sheffield, overlooking the Tennessee River and the O’Neal Bridge.  The congregations enjoyed many gatherings there through the years with picnics, fish fry’s and dinners.  The Glor’s hospitality was shared by all the people of Grace Church.  One person was heard to say that they were “self-confessed lovers of people,” with parishioners always welcome in their home.

Fr. Glor’s Service of Institution was at 7 p.m., October 26, 1989.  The procession consisted of a crucifer, the choir, visiting clergy, the vestry, and presentors, the Wardens, the gospeller, the litanist, the preacher, the rector, the Bishop’s Chaplain, and the installing officer the Right Reverend Robert O. Miller.  The choirs of Grace and St. Stephen’s, Huntsville had joined together to furnish the music.  The preacher was the Reverend William M. Hudson, rector of St. Thomas’ Church, Huntsville.  The lectors were messrs. Ron Kirkland and Jim Kelly, of Grace Church; the Psalmist and Cantor was Mrs. Linda Mixon, choir director of St. Stephen’s; the litanist was the Reverend William J. Bozeman, Rector of Grace Church, Cullman; the organist was Mr. Randy Terry, Grace Church.  The Senior Warden was Mr. Charles Patton; and the Junior Warden was Mr. David Springer.

Father Glor was born on June 30, 1936, in Buffalo, New York, one of a set of twins.  His brother is Donald.  His parents were Cleora Chalice Gaston, and Leonard Glor.  Milton and his twin Donald were the middle children of eight children born to Cleora and Leonard Glor.  The family consisted of seven boys and one girl.  Father Glor grew up in Buffalo, New York.  Except for a three year stay in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the World War II he lived in Buffalo until August of 1969.

Father Glor graduated from Kenmore West High School, Kenmore, New York, in 1954.  He attended the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York.  Fr. Glor’s marriage to Janice Colleen Roesch Glor on December 1, 1956, necessitated him finding a job.  He worked  as a dock hand on a truck dock for two years and in 1958 was hired at Dunlop Tire and Rubber Corporation, Tonawanda, New York.  His first position was a schedule clerk in the factory and then progressing to the mixing room where he worked for the Technical Department as a lab technician.  He was promoted to an assistant Tire Development Engineer and in 1969 moved to Huntsville, Alabama, a member of a nine-person team that opened the new Dunlop plant.  At Huntsville, Fr. Glor held the position of Manager of Tire Development, Specifications and Testing.  In 1978 Fr. Glor with the help and urging of his rector the Reverend Ned South, St. Stephen’s, Huntsville entered the discernment process seeking ordination to the priesthood.  Fr. Glor was accepted into the process with the stipulation that he finish his education.  Fr. Glor quit his job of twenty-three years at Dunlop and entered the University of Alabama at Huntsville where he received a B.A. Degree majoring in History and a minor in English.  In 1981 he was accepted as a postulant for holy orders and went to Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.  In 1985 he received his Masters of Divinity Degree and then on to ordination and ministry.  Prior to his B.A. Degree Fr. Glor was one of the first graduates of Theological Education for Ministry offered by the University of the South at Sewanee.  It was during this time that his call to ministry was substantiated and lived out.

Fr. Glor considers several key people in his life that influenced him to seek his career.  These mentors were Mr. Mike Stark, high school teacher; Fr. Townsend rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Buffalo, New York the place where he was baptized, confirmed, and married; the Reverend Taylor Wingo and the Reverend Ned South, rectors of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Huntsville, Alabama.

Locally, Fr. Glor became an active and supportive priest to his congregations and became part of many community based organizations.  As a member of the Shoals Ministerial Association and the Shoals Foundation he kept Grace Church in the forefront of activity in the community.  Rejuvenating the Shoals Foundation an organization of the Shoals Episcopal Churches to bring noted and interesting speakers and programs to the Shoals Fr. Glor succeeded in bring one of our own home.  In 1992 the program was given by Mrs. Peggy McDonnell Treadwell, from Chevy Chase, Maryland.  Peggy spoke on “Leadership and You.”  Mrs. Treadwell who grew up in Sheffield, the daughter of Florence and Wil McDonnell long time active members and supporters of Grace Church.  Since leaving the Shoals Peggy has followed a career as a family therapist.  She is the Director of the Family Counseling Service offered by St. Columba’s, Washington, D.C.  Other speakers and programs to name a few were the Reverend John Guest, Episcopal Evangelist, Swickley, Pennsylvania; the Reverend John Claypool; the Right Reverend Henry Parsley, Bishop of Alabama; the Right Reverend Mark Andrus, Bishop Suffragan of Alabama.

Father Glor’s presence in the community was known by participation and support.  As a member of Rotary he has continued the long line of rectors of Grace Church in this service club.  Fr. Glor also supports the religious community by being a member of the several Ministerial Associations in Colbert and Lauderdale County.  Fr. Glor was on the executive committee that sponsored the first “March for Jesus.”  And, out of this group he was one of the first members of a small group of pastors who began to pray every Tuesday morning for the whole Shoals area, a group he continues to support today.

Father Glor was also active in the Diocesan organizations having served on the Finance Committee; the Stewardship Committee as a Stewardship Consultant; a member of the Council and the Standing Committee’s of the Diocese and served two terms as Diocesan Secretary.  Fr. Glor was also on the Diocesan Search Committee that selected Henry Parsley as a candidate and consequently was elected the 9 th Bishop of Alabama.  Fr. Glor has been a strong supporter of the Cursillo Movement in the Diocese having attended Alabama #6 as a layperson, and many more on team as a Spiritual Director.  Fr. Glor also served on the Secretariat, the Cursillo Board, as its Head Spiritual Director.

Fr. Glor’s sermons probed the issues of today and gave a picture of the way Christ’s teachings are relevant to the 20th Century.  His sincere commitment to serve the Lord and the spread of God’s Kingdom here on earth influence and inspire all that he does.  Fr. Glor proved to be a strong leader with administrative skills being one of his strong points in the running of a parish.  Fr. Glor ran a very efficient office and those who worked for him during his tenure were Mrs. Debbie Woehler, 1992; Mrs. Christy Moore 1995; and Mrs. Jo McCaig 2000.

Grace Church was an active Christian Community during Fr. Glor’s tenure.  There were the yearly ECW projects such as bake sales, bazaars, and ice cream suppers.  The ECW produced a new cookbook during this time named: A Taste of Grace.  The Lenten seasons all started with the Pancake Suppers usually a fund raiser for the young people.  Many family camp weekends were held at Camp McDowell and the monthly Grace Club and its covered dish suppers were a big drawing during this time.  The annual Christmas Party for the underprivileged children of the community was very popular giving the ECW and the young people a sense of evangelism and caring for those less fortunate than them.  The Lenten Services and programs shared by the area Episcopal Churches was a big unifying ministry of all three churches.  The annual picnic and service held with the Shoals Episcopal Churches was also  a big factor in unifying the parishes during this time.  Perhaps two of the outstanding events occurring during Fr. Glor’s tenure were the Faith Alive Weekends of which we had two; and the organization and sponsorship of two Habitat for Humanity Houses in the Shoals shared by the Shoals Episcopal Community gave a greater sense of being the church than every before.  The Faith Alive Weekends were “lay witness” weekends sponsored by the Episcopal Church where lay people come and conduct a weekend mission program based on sharing each others Christian walks.  These weekend help bring the congregation together as family and two prayer and Bible Study groups came out of these times with one of them still meeting to this day.

Excitement ran high on March 29, 1992, with Bishop Miller present, the mortgage was burned after the 10:45 am service.  It was a great feeling of success that day as the papers burned giving everyone a since of accomplishment after the building and debt had weighed them down for so many years.  The reality of the dream so many years past was a great comforter to all those who worked to make our new church building a real  and beautiful worship space unequaled by any other in the Shoals.

Father Glor met his wife, Janice Langston Roesch, while in high school, in Spanish 101—he a senior and she a sophomore.  Janice is the daughter of Colleen and James L. Langston who married during WW II.  Janice’s mother, Colleen was a member of the first squads of WAC’s instituted during WW II.  Her father James Langston entered the Army at a very young age as a private and retired some twenty years later as a Captain.  Janice’s mother, Colleen remarried at the end of the War and Janice was adopted by her second husband William C. Roesch, of Buffalo, New York.  Fr. Glor and Janice married December 1, 1956, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Buffalo, New York.  They have three children: Twin sons Michael and Steven; and Kathleen Susan a daughter.  Twins are part of the Glor and Langston families.  Fr. Glor was a twin; they had twins; father Glor’s mother ‘s grandmother a twin.  The Glor’s daughter Kathy had twins (Jessica and Joshua).  The Glor’s niece on the Langston side had twins; and the Glors son Michael’s second wife had twins from a previous marriage.  The Glors have twelve grandchildren and five great grandchildren as of this writing.

Janice Glor earned her B.S. and Master’s Degrees from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and her Ed. S. Degree from Livingston University, Livingston, Alabama.  Janice taught in the Huntsville City schools for eleven years.  While at Livingston she worked as a tutor/coordinator-instructor in the Special Education Department of Livingston University.  After moving to Sheffield Janice taught as an adjunct faculty member at Northwest Junior College, and at the University of North Alabama in the English Departments.  In 1992 Janice was hired as an English Instructor by the English Department at the University of the North, Florence a position she held for twelve years retiring in 2003 as an Assistant Professor.

From 1989 until 1995, the following members have served on the Vestry: Laurence Church, Jim Pettey, David Springer, Ray Balch, Joe booth, Sandra Browning, Julie Gamble, Bob Green, Susan Kirkland, Sam Mitchell, Jr., Ninon Parker, Frank Potter, Nick Ware, Jr., May Woodie Christopher, Lou Fairer, Richard Parker, Richard Sturtevant, Danny Kimbrough, Andrew Fowler, John Savage, Barbara Sherrill, Hermine Wilson, Ron Russell, Wyatt Blake, III, Charles Patton, Ron Kirkland, Bobbie Kelly, Marla Kelly, Craig Martin, Clyde Roberts, Nick Ware, III, And Danny Hovater.  Clerks of the Vestry have been as follows:  Mary Potter, Hermine Wilson, Lori Russell, Stacy Blair-Walter, and Margaret Heath.

The following persons were licensed as Chalice Bearers (L.E.M’s): Ron Kirkland, Bobbie Kelly, Bruce Cherry, Bob Garfrerick, Charles Patton, Sam Mitchell, Jr., Danny Kimbrough, Nancy Borden, Jim Kelly, John Savage, Joel Love, Andrew Fowler, Danny Hovater, Nick Ware, Jr., Aline Mullen, and Tracy Jones.

Organists serving during this time have been Mr. Randy Terry, Dr. Tom Ed. Moore, and Mrs. Noel Beck (Mrs. Robert).

Lay Readers licensed during this time were as follows: Mrs. Bridget Moore, Charles Patton, Wyatt Blake, Bruce Cherry, Joe Booth, Paula Campbell, Dick Sturtevant, Suzie Smith, John Savage, Aline Mullen, and Darcy Strickland.

Some memorable Sunday School teachers have been:  Janice Glor, Sherry Foust, Delores Vinson, Susan Balch, Ray Balch, Bruce, Cherry, Sara Jo Cherry, Cam Martin, Ron Kirkland, Susan Kirkland, May Woodie Christopher, Mike Whitlock, Danny Hovater, Ralph Browning, Suzie Smith, Bob Green, Mary Cecelia Christopher, Christy Cherry, and Nick Ware, Jr.

The faithful Altar Guild members during this time have been Hattie Morgan, chairperson, Bridget Moore, Mary Grahl, Aline Mullen, Kaye Martin, Hermine Wilson, May Woodie Christopher, Cecil Howard, Susan Kirkland, Mary Holland Black, Julie Gamble Clement, Maurice Haygood, and Jessie Wilson.

Martha Pettey became Grace Church’s first missionary having served on the Mercy Ships.  The Mercy Ships was a worldwide ministry for evangelism, youth, and medical.  Their three-fold ministry trained missionaries for 1) Evangelism, 2) training missionaries to reach other people; 3) ministries of mercy showing God’s love through practical assistance.  Included in its ministries are people from over 100 nations and many denominations.  The ranks included young, old, retired, doctors, nurses, and pastors.  Mercy Ships had three land offices and three ships.  The offices were located in Switzerland, New Zealand, and the United States.  The ships included the Anastasis; the Good Samaritan; and the Pacific Ruby.  Grace Church is proud of Martha’s commitment and pledged some monthly support to help her in her ministry.  Martha made one cruise commitment on the Mercy Ship.  She became ill and in March of 1993 she was forced to retire.  Martha died in 1995, never losing her missionary zeal and enthusiasm to help others.

The building of the cloistered walkway connecting the parish house and the church building was begun in August of 1993.  The walkway was the generous gift of Mr. & Mrs. Laurence (Red) Church and was dedicated in thanksgiving for the ministry of the Right Reverend Furman C. Stough, past rector of Grace Church and the Eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama.  The walkway greatly enhanced the appearance of Grace Church.  The construction of the walkway was under the direction of Mr. Jim Morgan who drew the plans and supervised the construction.  The walkway was constructed using the cut limestone from the same quarry in Russellville, Alabama used for the other two buildings.  A garden area was also constructed in the front lawn between the two building where a sign was rebuilt.  The garden area gave an opportunity for flowers and green shrubs to enhance the appearance of the property.  The stone masons used for the stone work on this project were the same family as did the work on the other buildings.

During Holy Week of 1993, the Reverend John Harper and his wife Margaret from St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, returned to Grace Church (they had been members of the first Faith Alive team)for a three day teaching mission beginning with an instructed Seder Meal on Maundy Thursday.  The Harpers did worship and teachings on Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, and on Easter Sunday John taught Sunday School and preached at the Choral Eucharist completing a most welcomed and truly blessed time for this most holy time.  The mission was well attended by the congregation and their guests.  And we were fortunate to have Mrs. June Florman, a member of the Shoals Jewish Community and friend of many at Grace, providing the menu and recipes for the Seder meal which was organized by Barbara Sherrill.

In August of 1993, Father Glor and Mrs. Glor attend the “Shaping Our Future Symposium,” in St. Louis, Missouri.  The meeting was a national event attended by some 1200 lay people and clergy from of the Episcopal Church.  The Symposium was sponsored by the Diocese of East Tennessee drawing on speakers and experts in church growth and evangelism as presenters.  The purpose of the event was to look at and study the needed changes in church structure and vision for the Twenty First Century.

In the summer of 1993 the Shoals Branch of the YMCA used Grace Church facilities for its summer camp program for special children.  Mrs. Linda Hickman, member of Grace Church supervised the program.

Father Glor in his annual church report for 1993 reported that there were 199 baptized members in the following age groups:  55 and older 78; 40-50 age group 42; 24-39 age group 37; 18-23 age group 16; 6-17 age group 17; 5 and younger 9.  These statistics were used to stimulate the Evangelistic zeal needed by Grace Church to survive in the new up coming century.

During this same time period the “Transfiguration Window” was installed another generous gift of Mr. & Mrs. Laurence (Red) Church, given in thanksgiving and to the glory of God.

Early in 1994, Grace Church, Trinity Church, Florence, and St. Bartholomew’s, Florence joined in a joint project in the planning, building and cost of the construction of a Habitat for Humanity Home on East 20th Street in Sheffield for the Mrs. Jackson family.  This project by the Shoals Episcopal Churches was under the direction of Janice Glor and a committee comprised of the three congregations.  Members of the three churches enthusiastically worked with the Shoals Habitat organization and built and finished the home for the Jackson’s in record time.  Local business donated and gave financial reductions in the purchasing of the materials to build the home.  It was truly a time of seeing Christian duty in action by all involved.  The project not only included building and sharing but providing food each work day for the volunteers both young and old.  A second home was built some years later in Florence with the help of the three area Episcopal Churches, Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church, and the UNA Habitat Organization which Janice Glor was the faculty advisor.

In 1994 the Vestry had the following members: Nick Ware, III (Senior Warden); May Woodie Christopher; Richard Parker; Bobbie Kelly; Ron Russell; Richard Sturtevant (Junior Warden); Bob Green; Lou Fairer; Barbara Sherrill; Craig Martin; Hermine Wilson; and Wyatt Blake, III.  Lori Russell was elected and served as Clerk of theVestry.

The nursery was re-decorated with wall covering, rugs, new furniture, and toys by the efforts and donation of funds mostly by the ECW.  Donations from the Christian Women’s Club of the Shoals who use the nursery during their meeting also helped in this project.

The Church property was reported in its annual report to be insured for $1,738,000 after a study by the Church Insurance Company.  The contents and buildings were reported to be insured with a replacement cost of $1,697,000.  The present church policy listed the current insured amount at $1,528,000—however, this figure did not include the new Cloistered Walkway which was valued at $50,000.  The Vestry requested that the Cloistered Walkway be included in the insured replacement amount increasing the total value to $1,738,000.

It was reported that over 12,000 people marched in the Shoals March for Jesus parade held in Florence.  This inter-denominational event chaired by Mr. Joe Van Dyke of the Magnolia Church of Christ in Florence and Fr. Glor as the Secretary of the group that formed and planned it was a great success.  Many members of Grace Church marched in this parade both young and old.

During this time a garden area was being planned and developed by Mrs. Charles E. McCutchen (Betty) in memory of her husband Mr. Charles E. (Sam) McCutchen.  Betty McCutchen with her committee of Sonny Howard (Architect); and members of the Vestry Barbara Sherrill and others.  This garden will be between the two buildings with formal garden area with a fountain and marble benches and walkway.  The Vestry accepted and approved the plans in June of 1994.


The Rolling Store…

was a part of my mother’s childhood in Colbert County, Alabama. There used to be a store at the corner of Wilson Dam Road and 6th Street. There she and her siblings would take an egg and get penny candy. Or the Rolling Store would come by and an egg would be traded for penny candy. If you look around the 10:00 minute mark you will see the Murphy Brothers Rolling Store that used to traverse the roads in Lauderdale County. This story is among those of the Great Depression:

So there are people other than me working on family history…

and a nice surprise came in my email today. Family researchers on collateral lines to my Murray family are now participating in DNA research as well. One of them sent me this photo of a railway ticket that one of our ancestors bought in 1863. A cousin in Birmingham has the original. It is a ticket that James T Murray purchased in 1863. He died that same year. He died while serving as a  the War Between the States as did his brother-in-law, John Lawrence, He was but 30 years old. He left a wife and five young children, among them a set of twins.

James T Murray was a son of John M Murray who fought with Andrew Jackson in the Creek War aka the War of 1812. John M Murray was my great-great-grandfather on my paternal side. James Thomas Murray served in the same Company during the War Between the States as did the husband of his sister Sarah Ann Rebecca Murray Lawrence (John Lawrence).  John Lawrence died while being held prisoner of war at Rock Island Prison in Illinois. They both died in the year 1863 and both widows applied for and received Confederate Widow’s pensions. Both served as a Private in Co D of the 6th Regiment of Alabama Volunteers, CSA.  James Thomas Murray’s  wife was Jane Wood Dowdle. His children were: Sarah Elizabeth Murray Lawrence 1854 – 1935, John Robert Murray 1856 – 1938, Mary Jane Murray Wood 1860 – 1928  . William Moore Murray 1860-1904, and David Jefferson Murray 1862-1948. Mary Jane and William Moore Murray were the twins.

Photo of an 1863 railway ticket issued to James T Murray

related posts:

The Acqueduct on the Muscle Shoals canal…

is the subject of this 1913 photograph.

acqueduct 1913


Are there any photos of the old Hotel…

near Margerum? At one time Riverton was a thriving little community and there was more to the neighboring communities like Margerum than exists today. This is a photo of what used to be the old Post Office but at the time of this photo it was used as an asphalt and limestone company.
Old Margerum Post Office Building

World War II enlistment record for James Arlander Murray…

U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 about James A Murray

Name: James A Murray
Birth Year: 1923 [he was born in 1924]
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Alabama
State of Residence: Alabama
County or City: Colbert
Enlistment Date: 12 Feb 1942
Enlistment State: Georgia
Enlistment City: Fort Oglethorpe
Branch: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Grade: Private
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Army of the United States – includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter; One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service; Officers appointed in the Army of
Source: Civil Life
Education: 1 year of high school
Civil Occupation: Semiskilled welders and flame cutters
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Height: 67
Weight: 140