A BRIEF HISTORY OF SAINT JAMES’ PARISH Mississippi and the churches in Louisi- lians. Hence the importance of clergy-
LIVINGSTON, ALABAMA ana to proceed to the formation of the men here . . . men of education, intelli-
by Dr. Joe B. Wilkins “Southwestern Diocese,” which the gence, and above all, men of discre-
churchmen of the three states deemed tion, industy, and devotion, who will
Written in 1986 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the parish the only practicable scheme for ensur- visit from house to house, who will
HE STORY OF Saint James’ Parish, directed by the Episcopal Church of ing constant episcopal oversight. Ala- preach in private houses, in school
T Livingston, Alabama, is a story
rich with personal sacrifice, dedication,
the United States “to visit the State of
Alabama and advance the interest of
bama joined this diocese in early 1836,
but the Church was growing so rapidly
houses, and wherever two or three can
be gathered together. At this time we
hard work, and a love of God and the Society and religion.” In late 1827 that it withdrew from the newly cre- want not so much churches, but men;
Church. The saga begins with the ef- he arrived in Tuscaloosa and on Janu- ated diocese in May of that year, and godly, energetic, laborous men, who
forts of a small group of parishioners ary 8, 1828 he organized Christ maintained its own autonomy. love their Saviour and His Church, and
who sought to plant in the newly cre- Church in that city. Missionary efforts As the newly formed diocese was desire to glorify God in the salvation
ated state of Alabama the Episcopal would then branch out from that parish unable to subsist without help from of their fellow men.”
form of worship. It is a story interwo- into other areas of the Black Belt. In general missionary appropriations, the In March 1835, the Rev. Mr. Ives
ven with the establishment and activi- January 1830 the then rector of Christ Domestic and Foreign Missionary So- relinquished his work as a missionary
ties of the Episcopal Church in Ala- Church, Tuscaloosa, the Rev. Robert ciety agreed to continue to help fund to accept a teaching position at a girls’
bama as well as with the development, A. Muller, recently arrived from Mis- the efforts in Alabama. The Rev. Caleb school in Mobile, and the Rev. Jobs
customs and history of Alabama and of sissippi, organized a congregation at S. Ives was sent to Alabama as a mis- Avery, formerly of Edenton, North
the Nation. Greensboro, and a compact was signed sionary by the Society in September Carolina, assumed Ives’ missionary
Soon after Alabama became a state with the Vestry in March 1830. 1833, and arrived in the state in De- work. In January 1836 the Domestic
in 1819 the Episcopal Church began In 1829, at the request of the Do- cember. On Christmas Eve 1833 he re- and Foreign Missionary Society made
efforts to serve its members and ad- mestic and Foreign Missionary Soci- organized the Church at Greensboro as Demopolis a missionary station of the
vance the work of the Church. In 1825 ety, the Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Brownell, St. Paul*s Parish, and on January 9, Church.
Christ Church in Mobile was orga- Bishop of Connecticut, made an in- 1834 he conducted services at St. It was in this background of mis-
nized as the first Episcopal parish in spection tour of the state in which he John’s in-the-Prairies, about nine miles sionary efforts in the Black Belt that
Alabama. Mobile had experienced a visited Mobile, Tuscaloosa and southwest of Greensboro, which he St. James’ Livingston was founded.
brief experiment with Anglicanism in Greensboro, and preached at Selma organized as a parish in April. Also in Settlers had moved into the Livingston
1765, shortly after the French forces and Montgomery. While in Mobile in December 1833 he officiated for the area shortly after the signing of the
had left Mobile; but the priest, after January 1830 he presided over the first time in Demopolis, and as a result Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek be-
experiencing a series of rebuffs, re- primary convention composed of dele- of his efforts Trinity Church was orga- tween the Choctaw nation and the
turned to Charleston, South Carolina gates from the three parishes in Mo- nized on January 31, 1834. United States government in 1832, in
that year. Christ Church had originally bile, Tuscaloosa and Greensboro. The The Rev. Mr. Ives observed in his which the Choctaw nation ceded this
been organized in 1822 as an Anglican convention organized the Diocese of report to the Missionary Society that land to the United States. Early tradi-
parish, but this was short-lived. The Alabama, adopted a Constitution, and there was a fertile field for the church tion notes that Episcopalians moved
first minister was the Reverend Henry appointed a Standing Committee with as emigration was streaming into the into this area shortly after 1832 and
Shaw, who arrived to begin his minis- Bishop Brownell becoming the Provi- Black Belt from Virginia and South began meeting, but no records have
try in December 1826. sional Bishop of Alabama. In New Carolina to create cotton plantations been found to support this tradition.
However, it would be in the Black York City in October 1832, the Gen- out of the educated and intelligent part The town of Livingston was laid out in
Belt area of the state, that region of eral Convention of the Episcopal of the community: He noted, “and 1834 and by 1936 a parish was orga-
rolling black topsoil that would pro- Church received the newly created those from the above mentioned states nized. On March 26, 1836, at the 5th
duce some of the finest cotton land in Diocese of Alabama into its union and have been mostly reared in our own General Convention of the Protestant
the world, that the Episcopal Church seated its delegates as members of the communion; so that a Virginian gentle- Episcopal Church in the State of Ala-
would concentrate its activity in the Convention. A special canon was also man has already remarked to me, that bama meeting in Mobile, “The Hon.
next several decades. In 1827, the Rev. adopted by the General Convention to say a family is from Virginia or James Martin laid before the conven-
Robert Davis of New York City was allowing the Dioceses of Alabama and South Carolina is almost synonymous tion documents showing that a church,
with saying it is a family of Episcopa- to be known by the name of St. James’
Church, had been organized in the Apparently during the spring and Mr. Scott was proud to announce in his first Bishop of Alabama by the General
town of Livingston, Sumter County, summer of 1841 other monies were parochial report of May 1844 that Convention in October 1844, remarked
and in behalf of said church, petitioned collected. As the Rev. Mr. Scott ob- Bishop Polk had consecrated the in his first annual report to the Diocese
that it be admitted into union with the served in February of 1842, “the vestry church on March 8, 1843. In his report that when he first visited St. James’ in
Convention. The question being taken, contracted for the building of a neat, the Rev. Mr. Scott observed that the June 1845, the church was “in a
said church was admitted by the con- though small church edifice during the parish had grown to 30 communicants healthy and flourishing state,” and that
vention.” last summer, which is now enclosed and due to the efforts of the young the vestry was making every effort to
On May 24, 1836, the Rev. Lucien and shingled, and may be so far com- ladies of the church, the Dorcas soci- secure another rector.
B. Wright of Maryland, a missionary pleted in a month, as to admit of its ety, the church had furnished and In December 1846, the Rev. J. A.
with the Domestic and Foreigh Mis- being used for public services. It is of beautified, as well as an organ being Massey, former Assistant Priest at
sionary Society of the Episcopal sufficient dimensions for our ordinary purchased for the church. The parish, Christ Church in Mobile, had agreed to
Church, announced in the local news- congregation — 46 by 30 feet — with Scott concluded, “was in a flourishing serve as Rector of St. James’. In his
paper the Voice of Sumter that he gallery and vestry room ten feet condition that it has been from its foun- parochial report of 1847 he observed
would perform the services of the square.” Services were probably begun dations,” and that while the parish had that the Parish contained 37 communi-
church at the house of Mr. Duncan, the in the church structure in late March or lost communicants because of remov- cants and that one fourth of his time
service to begin at half past ten early April of 1842. als to western lands, “the remaining and dedication were spent in minister-
o*clock, with a vestry meeting follow- The additional funds necessary to portion have improved in religious ing to the congregation in Sumterville.
ing the service. The Rev. Mr. Wright complete the church structure could character, and they seem now more The Rev. Mr. Massey was satisfied,
remained in Livingston for several have been donated by Mrs. Jane Mar- earnest than ever in striving together “by evident signs of its increasing
more months, and on November 23, tin Dalton, a member of the Church of for the faith of the gospel.” prosperity, and he thinks the prospects
1836, the Society allowed him to move St. James from the late 1830s to the The lot identified as the “northeast of the church in the Parish, and in the
to Demopolis. By May, 1843 the paro- 1840s. According to the historian of half of lot thirty-one in the Town of county generally, are such as call for
chial records indicate that he was Rec- St. John*s parish, Aberdeen, Missis- Livingston,” on which the church was devout thankfulness, and warrant the
tor of St. Paul*s, Selma. sippi, Mrs. Dalton, the former Jane built, was given to St. James by a Pres- expectations of a large increase to her
No parochial records exist for the Martin, had married a Dr. Robert Dal- byterian, Willis Crenshaw and his wife ranks at no distant day.”
parish until 1840, when the Rev. Dea- ton of North Carolina and had moved Amanda. The Bible used in the conse- Under Massey*s leadership the
con J. J. Scott arrived as minister of St. to Livingston shortly after the forma- cration of St. James’ and for many parish grew to 43 communicants de-
James’. The Rev. Mr. Scott, in his pa- tion of the town. She could very well years thereafter was donated by Sam- spite an epidemic which struck the
rochial report to the Ninth General have been the daughter of Judge James uel N. Gowdy, whose uncle, G. C. town in the summer of 1847. The epi-
Convention of the Episcopal Church Martin, the lay delegate who petitioned Gowdy was for many years the presi- demic, never clearly identified, but
reported that the parish had 28 com- that St. James’ he admitted into the dent of the Bank of York. probably malaria or yellow fever due
municants. The Rev. Mr. Scott ob- Diocese. The history of St. John*s, It was during the rectorship of the to the season of the year, took the lives
served in his report that one of the Aberdeen, observes, that “Finding no Rev. Mr. Scott that St. James’ Parish of 5 communicants and almost the life
major tasks of the parish was the build- altar of her household of faith in officially incorporated. The wardens of the rector. Massey at the end of the
ing of a proper church structure and Livingston, she resolutely addressed and vestrymen who signed the act of epidemic was so hopeful about the
already, he noted, funds had begun to herself to the task of erecting one. The incorporation were as follows: William future growth of the parish that he pre-
be collected for that purpose. present St. James’ Church is the out- H. Green, Charles R. Gibbs, Wardens; dicted that three more ministers would
The Rev. Mr. Scott was able to ward evidence of her labors.” This R. T. Gibbs, Stephen Day, S. W. be needed in the county to serve the
report in May of 1841 that a collection could very well have been the case, but Murley, Henry R. Thorton, Thomas L. needs of the Episcopalians there.
had been made to build a church for the author has found no records to doc- Wetmore, Robert H. Smith, Alex M. Massey*s optimism was short
the parish. As he observed, it was the ument this tradition. Garber, Vestrymen. lived. He left the parish before the
ladies of the church who had held a The building was completed and The Rev. Mr. Scott resigned the summer of 1848, perhaps to avoid an-
fair, “the proceeds of which, $414.12, ready for consecration by the Provi- rectorship at St. James’ in the spring of other outbreak of the fever. In October
they have deposited in the hands of our sional Bishop of Alabama/Missionary 1844 to take a position in Milton, 1842 the parish obtained the services
Treasurer, as an appropriation toward Bishop of the Southwestern Diocese, Florida. Bishop Nicholas Hamner of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Savage. Dr.
building a church edifice.” the Rt. Rev. Leonidas Polk. The Rev. Cobbs, who had been recently elected Savage officiated twice a month in
Livingston and twice in neighboring who at this time was reading for Holy John A. Smith, one of the earliest phy- parochial report for 1864 expressed his
parts of the county at Sumterville and Orders, would later be ordained. He sicians in Livingston. The Rev. S. U. thanks to the parish for the loan of a
Liberty. The Sundays when Dr. Savage would become the Rector of St. James’ Smith and his brother Dr. Joseph house and lot since he had been in
was absent, the Rev. Mr. Hays, who on several occasions, and in other ar- Smith never married. Livingston. The effects of the war on
was in charge of the classical school at eas throughout Alabama, becoming By May 1854, under the leadership the town and parish were clearly re-
Livingston, officiated at the service as one of the most prominent nineteenth of the Rev. Mr. Ticknor, the communi- vealed by the Rev. Mr. McCoy*s com-
well as conducting Sunday School. century Episcopal figures in the re- cant rolls had increased to 52. His mis- ments in the 1864 report. The Rev. J.
The Rev. Dr. Savage in his paro- gion. sionary endeavors had been fruitful. At C. Waddill was Assistant to the Rector.
chial report of May 1849 observed that In February 1851 the Rev. J. H. Pushmataha a separate parish was be- A Christian School had been estab-
when he arrived he found the parish in Ticknor became Rector of St. James’. ing formed, and Grace Chapel had lished by the parish to educate all
debt, owing several hundred dollars to The parish by 1851 included Living- been erected at Sumterville. classes of children and the proceeds of
one of the Vestrymen who had been ston, Gainesville and Sumterville. In The productive rectorship of the which, the Rev. Mr. McCoy stated,
instrumental in building the church. Gainesville the services were usually Rev. J. H. Ticknor ended in May 1857 “are to be devoted to feeding, clothing,
This problem was cleared up when the held every 3rd Sunday of the month in when he took the rectorship of St. and educating, religiously, morally and
Vestryman in question relinquished his the Methodist church. The Rev. Mr. Paul’s, Selma. The new rector at St. intellectually, in agricultural and me-
claims and the congregation was able Ticknor, as did previous Rectors of St. James’ was its former lay reader, the chanic arts, the destitute orphans of
to raise enough money to satisfy the James’, noted the steady drain that the Rev. S. U. Smith. He began also to soldiers.” Every fourth Sunday McCoy
other outstanding debts of the church, westward movement produced upon administer to St. Mark*s, Fork of the visited Pushmataha, which by 1864
thus freeing the church from debt. the congregation, but was able to re- Greene. By 1859 he preached in was listed in the reports of the conven-
Another problem which Dr. Sav- port that the spiritual condition of the Livingston on the first and third Sun- tion as Calvary Church, Pushmataha,
age encountered on his arrival at St. church was favorable. The westward days of the month and the parish used Choctaw County, Alabama.
James’ was one which would plague migration had reduced the number of the services of a lay reader the other One of those affected by the rav-
the parish throughout its history. “I am communicants to 28. Sundays. Smith noted that the church ages of war was the former rector of
unable,” Savage declared, “to report Under the efforts of the Rev. Mr. was now carpeted, thanks to the efforts St. James’, the Rev. J. J. Scott of
favorably on the spiritual condition of Ticknor, five new communicants were of the ladies of the church. Pensacola, Florida. His wife was the
the Parish. The very unstable character added to the parish in 1852 as well as With the increase of the tensions widow of Lt. Alex C. Maury, a relative
of the population of the region oper- the beginning of a missionary station between the North and the South, of H. R. Thornton, a prominent mem-
ates unfavorably. Several worthy com- at Pushmataha, Choctaw County. which would erupt into the most terri- ber of St. James’ and vestryman on
municants and energetic supporters of Bishop Cobbs observed in his report to ble and tragic war in the history of the many occasions. He had married her
the Church have removed with the tide the Diocese in 1851 that he held high United States, the parishioners of St. while rector at St. James’. They sought
of emigration westward, and others it prospects for the parish under the guid- James’ would have their world shat- sanctuary in Montgomery, Alabama,
is expected will soon follow. Whether ance of the Rev. Mr. Ticknor. tered by this conflict. Bishop Nicholas after Federal groups had taken Pensa-
others will come in to supply their One of the most important events Hamner Cobbs, who had guided the cola. It was while he was in Montgom-
places, is known only to the Head of in the history of the parish during this Diocese of Alabama since 1844, died ery that Scott, under the guidance of
the Church. But His promise is on re- time occurred when S. U. Smith, the on Jan. 11, 1861, the same day that Bishop Wilmer, helped organize the
cord — ‘let us not be weary in well former lay reader of St. Jarmes’, was Alabama seceded from the Union. The Church of the Holy Comforter, which
doing, for in due Season we shall reap ordained. His father was Stephen Rev. Richard Hooker Wilmer was became a parish in 1865.
if we faint not.’” Smith of North Carolina, who died elected to take Bishop Cobbs’ place. The war’s end in the spring of
Apparently one of those who felt while the Rev. Mr. Smith was very The war quite naturally disrupted 1865 found St. James’ without a rec-
the urge to move was the Rev. Dr. young. His mother was a sister of Col. normal life in the parish and the town, tor. Perhaps the presence of Federal
Savage, as no rector is recorded for St. James Rhodes of Livingston. Among and while the Rev. Mr. Smith contin- troops at Livingston and Gainesville in
James’ in 1850 in the records of the Smith*s many brothers and sisters were ued officially to be rector of St. James’ May of l865 proved to be too much for
Diocese. During this period, S. U. several who would be prominent mem- until 1863, the records for this period the Rev. Mr. McCoy. It was not until
Smith was the lay reader of St. James’, bers of St. James’ and the community. of time are extremely sketchy. The January of 1867 that the former Assis-
and through his efforts, services were They were James R. Smith, John T. Rev. Mr. McCoy, who apparently was tant Minister, the Rev. J. C. Waddill,
conducted on a regular basis. Smith, Smith, Captain E. W. Smith, and Dr. the rector by the following year, in his returned to take over the parish. He
officiated three Sundays a month at St. the church be opened for lay reading from these and other smaller bequests Rectory.
James’ and one Sunday a month at until the regular services of an or- totaled $2,500. The vestry at Living- The Rev. S. U. Smith served less
Calvary, Pushmataha. Surprisingly, dained minister can be obtained.” The ston, solicited Bishop Wilmer for part than a year as provisional rector and
despite the ravages of war, St. James’ vestry also authorized the purchase of of this money to be used to build a resumed his work at St. Mark’s Fork
was able to list 34 communicants in a new organ at this time. rectory in Livingston. The Bishop ad- of the Greene in March of 1877. Capt.
May of 1867. Captain B. F. Herr, an Major Thomas Cobbs, Senior War- vocated this, seeing no prospect of B. F. Herr resumed his duties as full
ex-Confederate soldier who had moved den, noted in the May 1972 parochial having a church built at Gainesville time lay reader until the arrival in Jan-
into the area and became editor of The report that St. James’ had 29 commu- considering the deserted nature of the uary 1878 of the Rev. Deacon A.
Livingston Journal, took over the du- nicants on her rolls. The Senior War- village in 1872. In May 1875, Bishop Kinney Hall as Rector of St. James’.
ties of Lay reader while Waddill was den observed that St. James’ had not Wilmer observed in his report to the It was during the rectorship of the
absent. For the next thirty years, Capt. been able to secure the services of a Diocese that he had received a letter Rev. Mr. Hall that the substantial re-
Herr would be one of the most promi- rector but that the prospects of the from the few remaining ladies at modeling of the Church structure at St.
nent members of the parish and com- church were good. “The members are Gainesville, “expressing their willing- James’ took place, leaving the church
munity, holding many county offices generally poor, and do not pay much,” ness, that the money should be appro- much as it appears today. During the
after reconstruction. Herr was origi- Major Cobbs observed, but, “if we priated on request by the Church at years 1878-1879 the church was
nally from Pennsylvania and had were able to secure the services of an Livingston.” painted, seats in the gallery were
moved to Missouri when a young man. energetic, earnest Rector, we would With prospects for a rectory good, erected for black parishioners, a new
He fought for the Confederacy, and soon have a larger and prosperous St. James’ secured the services of the organ was purchased, the vestibule was
because of the unsettled nature of Mis- church. The Church is open and the Rev. Deacon W. J. Lemon in 1875. repaired to allow only one main en-
souri after the war carne to settle in services read every sabbath by Capt. B. Beginning in June of 1875 efforts were trance, a spire was added, and stained
Livingston. F. Herr, lay Reader.” The efforts to made to buy a lot, and by September glass windows were donated by mem-
The Rev. Mr. Waddill remained at secure the services of a Rector was the 1875 a contract for building a Rectory bers of the parish. As the Rev. A.
St. James until 1869, when he moved number one priority of the vestry dur- was made with Stephen G. Grant. This Kinney Hall reported in the May 1879
to Selma to take up the Rectorship of ing this period, and in order for the contract was formally adopted by the parochial report, “During the year the
St. Paul*s. During the period of recon- parish to become more desirable for a vestry in November 1875 on a motion church has been presented with hand-
struction, 1869-1875, when the new Minister to locate in, the vestry made by Capt. B. G. Herr that the Building some stained glass windows, given by
rector the Rev. W. J. Lemon arrived, the decision to build a rectory. The Committee be authorized “to contract parishioners in memory of departed
St. James’ was led by a small corps of monies for this undertaking came from for the building of a kitchen, servant*s friends. The church building has re-
dedicated parishioners. Capt. Herr, as an unexpected source, from the Epis- room, store room, and the requisite cently been extended, thus gaining a
mentioned earlier, was lay reader, and copal Church at Gainesville, which by fencing, leaving to them the adoption seating capacity for ninety more per-
on various occasions the following 1878 would become St. Alban’s. This of a suitable place, not to cost, how- sons. We have also added a vestibule
were vestrymen: W. R. DeLoach, Ma- issue is much too complex for this ever, more than the amount of funds and spire, and rejoice to state that we
jor Thomas Cobbs, J. G. Whitfield, short history, but a few words of ex- now on hand.” have contracted no debt in the above
Garrett Minor Quarles, James B. planation are in order. Despite the efforts of the vestry to improvements.” St. James’ listed 37
Cobbs (son of Major Cobbs), and H. Dr. L. H. Anderson of Gainesville, secure a rectory, the Rev. Mr. Lemon communicants in this report and salary
R. Thornton. who had been involved with the small left the parish in early 1876 and the of $780.40 for the rector.
In April of 1872 the Vestry of St. group of Episcopalians in the antebel- vestry agreed to rent out the rectory for The stained glass windows in the
James’ was reorganized with Rev. Wil- lum period, left the bulk of his estate to $15 a month or $180 per year. By church beginning on the north side
liam A. Stickney of Faunsdale presid- the Church at Gainesville in October April 1876 the Rev. S. U. Smith who (top right as you enter the Sanctuary
ing. The purpose of this meeting was 1862. This estate included several was at that time Rector at St. Mark’s from east to west or from front to rear)
to set in motion a major effort to se- pieces of property including one Fork of the Greene, agreed once again are memorials to Henry R. Thornton,
cure the services of a full-time rector. known locally as the Mansion House. to serve as provisional Rector at St. Mrs. Mary Maury, Miss Constance L.
It was resolved by the new Vestry, Also a Mr. Everett of Gainesville in James’. The Rectory cost $1,023.82, as Rhodes, Bessie Garber, Margaret
composed of Major Thomas Cobbs, Sr. 1851 left to the Ladies of the Episcopal this was the amount authorized by the Thornton, and several Cobbs children
Warden, J. G. Whitfield, W. R. Church at Gainesville $423 in gold: by ladies of the church of Gainesville to (Maggie, Bettie, George, Julia, and
DeLoach, and Capt. B. F. Herr, “that the 1870s the income with interest be released for the purchase of the Wilmer). On the south side, west to
east (front to rear), Mrs. Rebecca nor Reuben Chapman, who also have Gainesville, but up to the present time time role at St. James’ in May 1885
Chapman, Judge Samuel Chapman and windows dedicated to them. Bishop I have hesitated to put up a Church when Rev. W. T. Allen became the
his wife, Bishop Nicholas Hamner Nicholas Hamner Cobbs was the first Building there. But at my recent visita- new rector.
Cobbs, Bishop Leonidas Polk, William Bishop of Alabama, and Bishop tion, I was satisfied that the time had St. James’, like other Black Belt
King Abrahams, and Kate Lucretia Leonidas Polk was the Missionary come to make a movement, and I hope communities and parishes, experienced
Abrahams. All the windows were do- Bishop of the Southwest Diocese, Pro- to report in my next annual address the a major setback economically, and
nated by members of long-standing in visional Bishop of Alabama and completion of a Church Building at suffered a population decline begin-
St. James’. Henry R. Thornton was a Bishop of Louisiana. During the Civil Gainseville.” ning in the mid 1880s. This would
long-time member, and held various War, Bishop Polk became a Lieutenant By May 1879, Bishop Wilmer was continue into the twentieth century. As
positions in the Vestry. His son, H. R. General in the Confederate Army and able to report that St. Alban’s, the mineral areas in the north of Ala-
Thornton, Jr. was on the Vestry in the died in combat in 1864. The Abrahams Gainesville, was almost completed. “It bama opened up and as Birmingham
1970s during the remodeling of the (pronounced Abrams) were a promi- affords me much satisfaction,” Bishop developed as a major iron and steel
church. Major Thomas Cobbs was also nent family of Livingston and the par- Wilmer noted,” to state that since last town, St. James’ and other parishes
a member of the Vestry. His wife was ish of St. James’. James Abrahams convention, a Church Building, Gothic throughout the Black Belt lost parish-
the sister of H. R. Thornton and Mar- owned one of the first frame stores in in design, has been erected. It is nicely ioners. “Gone to Birmingham” was all
garet A. Thom, who also had a win- Livingston and conducted one of the pewed, and supplied with stained glass too often heard in the diocese and par-
dow dedicated to her. Mrs. Mary largest businesses in the community. windows, part of them as memorials. ish records of the time.
Maury cannot be positively identified, The Abrahams Hall, built in 1875, had The church is not yet completed for A succession of rectors followed
but the author believes that she is con- a store on the bottom floor and served lack of funds. St. Alban’s in the paro- the Rev. Mr. Allen. In 1889 the Rev.
nected to the Thornton family as the as a hall for all kinds of community chial reports for the year 1879 listed W. R. Dye replaced Allen and re-
wife of Lt. Alex Maury, who died in events upstairs. James Abrahams, the Charles Cooke as Senior Warden, and mained at St. James’ until 1890, when
Livingston in the 1840s and was re- patriarch of the family, was viewed reported 13 communicants. he went to St. Stephen’s, Eutaw. The
lated to the Thorntons. Miss Constance with suspicion by many in the commu- Unfortunately for Livingston, the Rev. John J. Harris came to Living-
Rhodes was probably the daughter of nity because of his pro-Unionist views Rev. A. Kinney Hall resigned as Rec- ston. Harris apparently officiated at St.
Col. James Rhodes, a parishioner. An- and the fact that he became a Republi- tor in October 1880 and went to the James’ only on one or two Sundays a
other one of Col. Rhodes’ daughters can probate judge after the war. Diocese of Kentucky. Sadly, Senior month, as he listed Tuscaloosa as his
married Dr. Garber, Bessie Garber, to James Abrahams’ sons, however, Warden Thomas Cobbs reported in home address in the parochial reports.
whom a window is dedicated, was did fight for the Confederacy. His wife May 1881 that St. James’ had “been By 1893 St. James’ listed only 17
probably a daughter of this marriage. and one of his sons, W. T. Abrahams, without the services of a Rector since communicants with Miss B. Ennis as
Dr. Garber had come to Livingston in were prominent members of St. the resignation of Mr. Hall in October, Treasurer of the parish. The Rev. Mr.
1833 and was a prominent member of James’. James Abrahams is said to 1880. Since then the Church has been Harris had left to take up a position
the community and parish for many have remained a Presbyterian; how- closed. The foregoing is as full and as with the University of Alabama.
years. One of the Garber daughters ever, his name appears on a bond doc- complete as I can make it for the dates In 1894 the Rev. Thurston Turner
married a Browder and in later years ument for the parish in 1859. William accessible to me. We have no immedi- served St. James’, along with St. Ste-
inherited the Garber homestead which King Abrahams and Kate Lucretia ate prospects of obtaining the services phen’s, Eutaw, St. Mark’s, Boligee,
was located near Browder Springs off Abrahams have not been positively of a Rector.” The church*s property at and St. Alban’s, Gainesville. Between
the old Bellamy road. The several de- identified by this author, but could be this time was valued at $1,600 for the the summer of 1894 and May 1897
ceased Cobbs children were children the children of W. T. Abrahams. church building and $1,300 for the there were no parochial reports for St.
of James A. Cobbs, son of Thomas Shortly after the remodeling of St. Rectory and lot. There were 29 com- James’ until the Rev. T. J. Beard, D.D.,
Cobbs, or the brother and sisters of James’, the Church at Gainesville, St. municants in the parish. formerly Rector at the Church of the
James A. Cobbs. Mrs. Reuben Chap- Alban’s, began a major effort to con- In December 1882, the Rev. S. U. Advent, Birmingham, became a mis-
man was the first wife of the Hon. struct a church there. Bishop Wilmer Smith once again became rector of St. sionary to the western Alabama Black
Reuben Chapman of Livingston, a in his report to the Diocese in March James’, dividing his time between St. Belt with St. James’ as one of his
legislator from the area at this time. He 1878 observed that “It will be remem- Mark’s Fork of the Greene, now re- charges.
was a son of Judge Samuel Chapman, bered that the late Dr. Leroy Anderson moved to the railway town of Boligee. Two years later in June, 1899, the
who was a brother of the former gover- left certain properties to the Church at The Rev. Mr. Smith resigned his part Rev. J. J. Harris returned to St. James’,
apparently only officiating one or two month. Due to pressing commitments the first full-time rector in the twenti- and rectory to its property. This is due
Sundays a month. In the 1900 paro- to his parish in Demopolis, Dr. Living- eth century to St. James’, the Rev. in large part to the dedicated priests
chial report the Rev. Mr. Harris listed ston ended his relationship with St. Charles McKimmon, Jr. who arrived in who served St. James since 1955.
only 11 communicants, but 30 parish- James’. The Rev. Ralph Kendall of St. July 1955. The 31 years since 1955 The history of Saint James’ is an
ioners. In 1901 he moved to Faunsdale Stephen’s, Eutaw began to officiate have witnessed many ups and downs inspiring one. It is a record of the dedi-
and the Rev. T. J. Beard, general mis- one Sunday a month at Livingston, as in the parish, but as we celebrate the cation over many years of parishioners
sionary for the west Alabama region, well as St. Alban’s, Gainesville, and 150th anniversary of St. James’, the and priests who sought to glorify God
served Livingston. At the 70th conven- St. John*s, Forkland until 1955. parish is healthy, stable and vital, hav- in worship according to the faith and
tion of the Protestant Episcopal Church The major change which brought ing added in recent years a parish hall traditions of the Episcopal Church.
in Montgomery, St. James’ was offi- life back into the parish was the do-
cially declared a mission. mestic and social events which fol- RECTORS OF SAINT JAMES’ CHURCH
St. James’ remained a mission lowed World War II. Livingston State
The Rev. Lucien B. Wright, May 24, 1836 - November 23, 1836
throughout this period before World Teacher’s College, which had strug-
The Rev. J. J. Scott, 1840 - Spring 1844
War I with the Rev. T. J. Beard offici- gled for enrollment before the war, and
The Rev. J. A. Massey, December 1846 - Summer, 1848
ating sixteen times a year at St. James’, in fact was recommended by the Gover-
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Savage, October 1848 - 1850?
with the other Sunday services being nor*s Council on Education to be
The Rev. J. H. Ticknor, February 1851 - May 1857
conducted by lay reader Woodson closed, experienced a rebirth with the
The Rev. S. U. Smith, 1857 - 1863
Ennis. Ennis was a prominent busi- influx of veterans returning to college
The Rev. Mr. McCoy, 1864 - 1865
nessman of Livingston, who resided at after World War II and the Korean
The Rev. J. C. Waddill, January 1867 - 1869
“the Ennis corner,” and had married Conflict under the GI bill. With the
The Rev. Deacon W. J. Lemon, 1875 - 1876
the former Miss Tempie Scruggs. They growth of the college, a revival of the
The Rev. S. U. Smith, April 1876 - March 1877
had two sons, Woodson and Robert. parish took place. As Bishop Carpenter
The Rev. Deacon A. Kinney Hall, 1878 - October 1880
The revival of St. James’ in the observed in his report on the mission
The Rev. S. U. Smith, December 1882 - May 1885
twentieth century begins with the ar- of the Rev. Mr. Kendall, written some-
The Rev. W. T. Allen, May 1885 - 1889
rival of Fred G. Stickney from the fac- time in the early 1950s at Livingston,
The Rev. W. R. Dye, 1889 - 1890
ulty of the University of Alabama to “there is real possibility of growth.
The Rev. John J. Harris, 1890 - 1894
head the English Department at Liv- One of the state teacher*s colleges is
The Rev. Thurston Turner, 1894
ingston Normal School, a position he located at Livingston. The College has
The Rev. Dr. T. J. Beard, 1897 - 1899
would hold until 1945. Mr. Stickney not amounted to much, and when I was
The Rev. J. J. Harris, June 1899 - 1901
and his family, along with J. M. on the Governor*s Commission to
The Rev. Dr. T. J. Beard, 1901 - ?
Browder, Mrs. J. M. Branch, Mrs. R. study education in Alabama, with oth-
The Rev. C. F. Penniman, November 1927 - 1932?
B. Calloway, Miss Olive Gage, the ers, I recommended that it be closed.
[Visiting clergy with one service monthly, 1932? - 1955]
Grubbs and Patton families, and Mrs. However, the increased demand for
The Rev. Charles McKimmon, Jr., July 15, 1955 - October, 1959
B. Brown formed a corps of devoted College degrees following the war
The Rev. Robert Davis, July 16, 1961 - July 31, 1962
Episcopalians. They solicited the ser- gave Livingston a little boom, and I
The Rev. John H. Harwell, September 1, 1963 - July 31, 1965
vices of the Rev. C. F. Penniman to imagine this college will be continued
The Rev. William Parrish Chilton, February 1, 1968 - March 31, 1970
become Rector of St. James’ in No- for some time, and may even grow.
The Rev. Richard A. Parks, June 1970 - August 1971
vember 1927. The Rev. Mr. Penniman, Livingston is a good little community,
The Rev. John Blow, September 1971 - May 14, 1972
who was rector at St. Paul*s, Meridian, and we should push the work of the
The Rev. Deacon Herbert Gear McCarriar, Jr., July 1, 1972 - July 1, 1974
began to hold services every third church ahead there. There are a num-
The Rev. Canon Edward Thomas Cate, September 1974 - April 1982
Sunday evening in the month. This ber of faculty who are communicants
The Rev. Walter Leroy Elam, III, July 4, 1982 - June 30, 1985
relationship continued until Penniman and form a healthy nucleus. The
The Rev. Milton T. Glor, July 1, 1985 - 1990
left St. Paul*s in the early 1930s. Dur- church is in good condition, and I al-
The Rev. Lewis Fitzhugh Shaw, 1991 - 1992
ing the 1930s, until the end of World ways have a good congregation when I
The Rev. Richard R. Losch, January 1, 1994 - June 30, 2003
War II, Dr. Livingston of Trinity, go there for services.”
The Rev. Joe M. Chambers, September 2004 - February 2006
Demopolis officiated one Sunday a This renewal of growth brought