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Churches by Denomination

Cole County Episcopal Churches

Grace Episcopal Church - Jefferson City

The Reverend William H. Hommann, a missionary priest of the Episcopal Church, arrived in Jefferson City in July 1840, when the population of the community was only 1,174 and when living was on a meager basis and primitive conditions prevailed. A small gathering of followers; namely, Mrs. Matilda Davison; Mrs. Ann Davison; Mrs. Fidelia Hommann; Mrs. Delahey; Mrs. Mary C. Hough; Mrs. Lydia Kyle; Thomas Goode and Charles Stuart joined with the Reverend Hommann for church services which were held in the courthouse. The first baptism by the Rector was on July 9, 1840 of Ann Maury Davison.

On Monday, November 3, 1840, at a meeting in the schoolroom of Mrs. Charles Stuart of Jefferson City, friends of the English Protestant Episcopal Church met with the Reverend William H. Hommann, Chairman, and James L. Minor, Secretary. Among those present were the Rt. Reverend Jackson Kemper, Bishop of the Diocese, and the Reverend James L. Mead, Rector of Christ Church at Boonville. Since it was resolved that it was expedient to organize a Protestant Episcopal Parish in this city, appropriate articles of association to that end were adopted.

The name “Grace” was given to the parish and the name of the association was “Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of Grace Church, Jefferson City”. The signers of these articles were William Hommann, Rector; J. L. Minor; William A. Davison; Josiah Murfee; S. Mansfield Bay; Charles W. Stuart; George W. Hough; and W.G. Minor; each signature was made in person. The first vestrymen were George Hommann, Charles W. Stuart, William G. Minor, James L. Minor, William A. Davison, and Josiah Murfee. On Easter Sunday, April 12, 1841, the first vestry was re-elected with the addition of James Dunnica, Israel B. Read, S. M. Bay; George W. Hough was elected secretary. At a meeting in December, 1841, it was resolved to apply for admission of this Parish into union with the Protestant Episcopal Church in this diocese.

Mrs. Mary C. Hough, mother of Judge Arthur M. Hough and grandmother of Charles Winston, was the first person to be confirmed. This service was held on April 17, 1841, by the Rt. Reverend Bishop Kemper.

On April 13, 1842, a committee was appointed to decide on suitable plans for a church building and to obtain an estimate of the cost. On July 29, 1842, James A. Crump was awarded the contract to build Grace Church. The stone structure with four imposing columns of Doric type, large enough to form the basic work of a cathedral, was designed by a St. Louis architect. Behind the columns was a portico termed by Southerners a “Gallery”. The church was elevated by several flights of steps from the sidewalk with intermediate landings. The location was on the southeast corner of Capitol and Madison Streets where the city parking garage now stands. The cost of this structure was $2,800 and the land on which the church building was erected was donated by General I. B. Read. The building committee consisted of James Dunnica, James L. Minor, and Charles W. Stuart. The church was dedicated in 1842 and at this time there were 42 members.


The Reverend Hommann served as Rector from July 1840 until May 1843. The Reverend C.S. Hedges came in April 1844, and served as Rector until August 1847.

From May 19, 1848, at which time the Reverend James Stephenson was elected Rector, there are no records preserved of a vestry meeting until April 9, 1866, an interval of eighteen years which included the period of the War of the Rebellion. On April 9, 1866, James L. Minor, Dr. G. B. Winston, R.R. Cordell, George Stemp, Israel B. Read, W. P. Billings, Thomas Roots, and Theodore Stanley were elected vestrymen.

It is recorded but not completely substantiated that during the great cholera epidemic of 1851 the church was used as a hospital by Dr. A. M. Davison, one of its members, who kept there many dire cases when the town was wholly lacking in hospital facilities and when the means for combating epidemics were crude and inadequate.

In about 1861 and during the Civil War the church became the hospital and rendezvous for wounded soldiers. Since there are no records during these stormy times, the conclusion is reached that the church might not have been available for religious uses.

On August 7, 1871, articles of incorporation of Grace Church parish were adopted under the title of “Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of Grace Church of the City of Jefferson “. Thee vestrymen named in the articles were Dr. G. B. Winston, Senior Warden; Dr. A.C. Davison, Junior Warden; J. L. Minor; Wm. E. Miller; Dr. W. A. Curry; Thomas Cottsworth; E. Clarke; J. H. Bodine; Dr. A.M. Davison; and F. N. Judson, Secretary. The following Rectors served Grace Church: Rev. R. H. Weller from 1851 to 1852 and again from 1857 to 1860; Rev. I. Adderly from 1853 to 1856; the Rev. W.H.D. Hatton, Jr. from 1865 to 1868; Rev. O. Bulkley from 1868 to 1874; Rev. E.C. Gilliam from 1876 to 1877; Rev. W.A. Masker from 1878 to 1881; Rev. Dr. John Gierlow from 1883 to 1889; Rev. Wm. W. Mix from June to October 1889; Rev. D.L.V. Moffett from 1890 to 1891.

On February 27, 1892, Rev. Charles D. Davis was elected Rector. At this time the parish owned a church building, the Rectory, located on the Southeast corner of Jackson and Water Streets, 80 acres of land with the indebtedness less than $1,000. On September 2, 1892, the Parish celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the old church building with impressive services conducted by the Rt. Reverend Daniel S. Tuttle, Bishop of the Diocese, assisted by the Reverend Chas. D. Davis, then Rector, and the Rev. Dr. John Gierlow, who was formerly a Rector of this parish for six years.

Mrs. George S. Tomkins, whose husband bought much land around Jefferson City in the early 1800s, upon her death in 1852 willed 80 acres of land to Grace Episcopal Church, but because of a life interest held by three slaves the church did not come into possession of the entire tract until the early 1890s. The records show this tract of land was on the south side of the North Ten Mile Drive and what is now the 2400 block of West Main.

In 1897 since it was determined by the parish to erect a new church building, necessary steps were taken.

In June, 1897, the parish was regularly incorporated under the name of “Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of Grace Church, Jefferson City, Missouri”, the former incorporation being defective. On September 6, 1897, the vestry purchased a lot at the corner of High and Adams Streets for the location and erection of the new church building. The consent of the Bishop and change of the location of the church having been obtained, the vestry, on April 30, 1898, adopted plans for a new church building and on June 18, 1898, contracts for the construction of the present church were let.

The cornerstone of the present church was laid on the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, 1898, and the church was consecrated on Sexagesima Sunday (second Sunday before Lent) 1899 by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Tuttle. Rev. George L. Neide, Jr. was Rector at this time. He served as Rector in both the old and the new church form May 1896 to June 1901.

A State Senator, the Honorable Henry H. Hohenschild, designed the building as well as eleven county courthouses within the state. The cost of the present church was $7,580.84 plus the cost of the site, $1,900. When the church was completed there was $86.78 left in the building fund. The stained glass windows were donated in memory of the Sullivan, Winston, Hough and McCarty families.

The Hough and Winston families were important factors in the conduct of the affairs of Grace Church. Their names appear frequently from year to year in the church records. Judge Arthur M. Hough was a vestryman time after time and served as Secretary of the Vestry often. He died in the year 1920. His continued interest in the work of the church is evidenced by an endowment fund provided in his will.

Records show that on July 25, 1898, the old church property at 211 Madison Street was bought by Henry Pope, a saloon-keeper. The interior of the church soon after was completely destroyed by fire. The stone walls were left standing and it was not surprising that a few days after the fire the front wall was desecrated by a whiskey advertisement. This seemed like a sacrilege to the members who had worshipped there. Eventually the building was sold to Hugh Stephens, who razed it to build a printing shop.

Prominent among the early Episcopalians was General James L. Minor and members of his family. A daughter became the wife of Governor Hamilton R. Gamble. Another member was the well-known General M. M. Parsons and in later years came Captain A.A. Lesuer, several times Secretary of State and afterwards editor of the Kansas City Times; also, Judge William C. Marshall of the State Supreme Court; Albert O. Allen, State Auditor; Frederick N. Judson, Secretary of the Vestry and later one of the leading lawyers of St. Louis. William G. McCarty, owner and host of the famous old historic hotel frequented by statesmen and politicians, took an active part in the affairs of the church along with Ashley W. Ewing, Commissioner of the Permanent Seat of Government. John S. Sullivan, a manufacturer, was a member of the Building Committee of the new church.

In 1936 Mr. Ewing Towles left the church a substantial gift in memory of his parents, Major Thomas O. and Florence Ewing Towles, who were active members during their lifetime. As a result, the interior of the church was completely refurnished and modernized. On October 11, 1936, Rt. Reverend William Scarlett, Bishop of the Diocese, assisted by the Rector, held an impressive dedication service. A bronze plate on the north wall of the nave marks this gift to the church.

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