Monday, October 25, 2010

Dinsmore D. Chapin, Rector 1864-1866

(Blog under development)

St. Philip's Mission and School- 1861 - Peter Williams Cassey and Annie Bessant Cassey

A Celebration of Two Notable Servants
On Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2009 Trinity Cathedral celebrate over a hundred and fifty years of ministry and mission from Trinity Church.   We honored Edna Pope as she approaches her hundred and fourth birthday with the choir singing the cantata that was commission for her hundredth birthday at the 10:30 Eucharist. 
              We also commemorated the life and ministry of the first person ordained in Trinity when the building was still new.  Peter Williams Cassey was ordained a deacon in Trinity Church on August 13, 1866 by  Bishop William Kip, first Bishop of California.  He was the first African American to be ordained in  California and probably west of the Mississippi River. He was among the original founding communicants of Trinity Church in 1861 and his daughter, Amy Henrietta was among the first baptized by the Rev. Mr. Ethridge. He was a third generation freed African American and the name-sake of his grandfather and great grandfather.    His great grandfather  had been a slave owned by a Methodist congregation in the New York City.  He  bought his freedom and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in that city.  His grandfather left the AME to join the new Trinity Parish, Wall Street and was  the first ordained priest in the Diocese of New York, becoming the founding rector of  St. Philip’s Church in Manhattan which had been formed in 1809.  His daughter, Matilda, married Joseph Cassey,  a renowned African American abolitionist in Philadelphia.  Among their close associates was Frederick Douglas.  Their home on Delancy Street in the City of Brotherly love is a national monument and the place of Peter Williams Cassey’s birth. 
          As a twenty-two year old Cassey arrived in San Jose in 1853 and worked as a barber, dentist and bleeder.   He was a founding member of Trinity parish in 1861.  In December after his ordination he established "St. Philip’s Mission School for Negroes" because African American students were prevented from attending public schools.   The original school, which took in boarding students from throughout California and the West, was located at 4thd and Williams.  The Phoenixonian Institute, the first secondary school for African American children in the West, grew out of St. Philip’s Mission School (later Academy).  Peter and his wife, Anna (Annie) had two daughters.  After the schools were established, Anna took over much of the day to day administration while Peter was directed by Bishop Kip to establish “Christ Episcopal Church for Black people” in San Francisco.   
           In 1881 the Bishop of North Carolina called Cassey to become the first African American priest at St. Cyprian’s  Church, in New Bern.   In 1894 he was called to become rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Fernandina, Florida and in 1898 he was called to be rector of St. Philip’s, Jacksonville.  Two years later he was moved to St. Cyprians at Saint Augustine, Florida where he served until his death on April 16, 1917.  These words concluded the bishop’s memorial address:  “He was a remarkable teacher..He was broad-minded, an omnivorous reader, a clear thinker.  His devotion to the Church and his untiring pastoral work brought many into the Church…A devoted servant of the Lord, a broad-minded Christian, a true and faithful pastor, the poor and sick will miss him, but the example of his life will live to lead many to the Cross.
Cassey was never allowed to be ordained a priest, even though his bishop in Florida said he was more learned in Greek, Latin and theology than most of the White clergy.  The institutional racism was so pervasive that few were able to challenge these set patterns in the Church.  He was bared from sitting in the conventions of the dioceses in which he served yet the words of the bishop at his funeral  reveal a man of profound faith and dedication even in the face of horrendous oppositions, even within his our Church.
     We honored the Rev. Peter Williams and Anna Cassey on Trinity Sunday because in September 2009 the History Department of San Jose State University opened  a year long exhibit in the City Hall Rotunda of five early African American families in San Jose.  Among them were the Cassey’s.   Fr. Jerry Drino sermon on Cassey’s life and ministry is found on the Trinity Cathedral web site.   (First published May 2009

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Rev Sylvester S. Ethridge 1861-1864 First Rector

From “Trinity Parish Centennial 1861-1961”
The founding of Trinity Church came through the efforts of Episcopalians who had settled in what would become Santa Clara County beginning from the Mexican Era in the 1840s.   Bishop Kip’s in 1854 gathered the little band of nine members continued keep alive the spark of their hope for a  church of their own, meeting in their homes and sometimes in the little Presbyterian Church whose neighbor Trinity Church was eventually to be for many years.
Because of the remoteness of the West, the difficulty of transportation, the general unrest preceding the Civil War, and the shortage of clergy, it was difficult to find a leader for the loyal little flock.   Late in 1860, however, the Rev. Sylvestrer S. Ethridge arrived from the East, to become rector and hold his first services during Advent (December 2, 1860). He was a young unmarried man, who came West seeking to improve his health, but one who gave energetic and devoted leadership at a time when it was most needed
Meeting around as they could, the membership grew larger; the resultant press for permanent quarter continued until early in February 1861, when arrangements were made “for a meeting of those citizens of the Protestant Episcopalian persuasion” to be held in the firehouse on North Market Street. (A portion of that building still stands.)  Some were doubtful of the future prospects of the small group, but soon on the strength of its growth and offer was made to transfer the services to the second story of the build which was used as a courtroom.
Communion vessels, altar lines, service books, a melodeon, and other articles necessary for the dignified celebration of the Holy Communion were obtained.  The young rector served as organist, chorister, and priest!
Trinity Parish was formally organized on Washington’s Birthday, February 22, 1861, as duly recorded in the venerable and carefully preserved leather minute book which is still a treasured possession of the Parish…
The small congregation thrived, eagerly formed a choir and a Sunday School, and planned for a church building.  This was a period of rapid expansion in which is now known to us as the downtown area, and coupled with the completion for building lots was the legal insecurity of many property deeds.   The vestry first purchased a lot at Fifth and San Antonio, making plans to have the church face on Washington Square, opposite the new Normal School (now California State University, San Jose).  They were forced to give this up and return to its original intention of buying the property at Second and St. John, then a part of large holdings extending from the Vendome Hotel to Fourt Stree and belongin to Major Samuel Hensley.  It was part of the corral, surrounded by ahigh board fence and covered with wild mustard which seems to have spread everywhere over the valley.
On this spot, facing St. John’s Street, with the altar opposite, was built the original Trinity Church out of native redwood.  (Renovation disclosed most of this wood to be Douglas Fir.)  Put together with the shipbuilder’s art, it ha given and swayed down through the years from the forces of storm and earthquake but with very minor damage.  For some time the winds of this church were coved with cloth until the arrival of stained glass which had been ordered from Doremus of New York and sent around the Horn, the same windows through which the sunlight still glows in such soft rich tones of red and blue and green and gold to lighten and beautify Trinity Church today.
The first service in the new church was held on Advent Sunday, 1863, just three years after the Rev. Ethridge had call the first service in the Market Street firehouse.  Unfortunately, the young rector was not able to preach the first sermon in the new church, and becoming weaker, we soon force to give up even the reading of the prayers.  On February 18, 1864, the parish lost its devoted founder and rector.  His body, as he had requested, was laid to rest under the chancel. 
A list of the first communicates is as follows: 

Registered by  REV. SYLVESTER S. ETHERIDGE. 1861 - 1863 
First Communicants and Baptisms
Appleton, Joseph L. 
Appleton, Sarah 
Atchinson, L. M. (Mrs.) 
Bond, George W. 
Broodbent, (Miss) 
Broodbent, Mary A. 
Brown, O. C. (Mrs.) 
Calvert, Elizabeth 
Canon, A. J. 
Case, F. M. (Mrs.) 
Cassey, Peter 
Clarke, Francis B. 
Coleman, Caroline 
Comstock, Ellen D. 
Cory, (Mrs.) 
Creighton, Emily A. (Mrs.) 
Creighton, Frederick 
Daniels, William 
Davis, William R. 
Devine, Frances 
Fowler, William A. 
Hadley, Daniel 
Hammond, J. W. 
Hammond, R. C. 
Hamn, (Mrs.) 
Hanjary, Anna 
Hardy, Sarah J. 
Hart, Anna 
Hartman, B, 
Hartman, B. (Mrs.) 
Hartwell, Julia 
Hayes, N. (Mrs.) 
Healey, (Mrs.) 
Hester, Sallie 
Hewlings, Margaret 
Holabird, Sarah 
Jones, Mary (Mrs.) 
Kingsbury, B. B. 
Lendrum, Anne E. 
Lissak, H, (Mrs.) 
Lissak, H. 
Littlefield, Ellen (Mrs.) 
Littlefield, J. M. 
Lowe, James R. 
Lowe, Mary A. 
Mallory, C. B. (Mrs.) 
Marvin, Ellen C. 
Meadowcroft, (Mr.) 
Meadowcroft, (Mrs.) 
Meadowcroft, Mary J. 
Petrie, Mrs. 
Pomeroy, Everett 
Ray, Hepsibah 
Read (Miss) 
Reedway, (Mrs.) 
Rhodes, Carrie 
Schallenberger, Fannie M. (Mrs.) 
Scott, S. (Miss) 
Smith, H. E. (Mrs.) 
Snook, Robert (Mrs.)
Spencer, Eleanor 
Thorn, Portia 
Warhurst, Ann B. 
Weatherhead, James 
White, Rebecca V. 
Yoell, Emily (Mrs.) 
Yoell, James Alexander 


1861 - 1864

Appleton, Joseph Smith
Barker, Robert L
Barker, Zilpah V
Baxter, George
Baxter, (Mrs.)
Byron, Fred
Canfield, William W
Cassey, Amy Henrietta
Creighton, Frederick John
Crowell, Mary
Dana, Laura Amelia
Djalina, Frank
Hardy, Mark Robson
Hardy, Franklin Graves
Hart, Mary
Hart, Anna
Hart, Henry
Hart, Toland
Hart, William
Hammond, Lutitia May
Hangary, Annie S
Hartwell, Julia A
Heath, John Alfred
Heath, Frederick William
Heath, Emma Jane
Hedge, William S
Hensley, Mary Helen
Holabird, John Thomas
Hough, Angelina Jane
Jacobs, Sara Frances
Jacobs, Robert
Klotz, Christina
Lendrum, Fliza
Lendrum, Andrew Reubin
Lendrum, Mary Jane
Lendrum, Maud Anna
Leroy, Marcul
Littlefield, John M
Littlefield, Edith Rebecca
Mayo, Gabrilla V
Mayo, Cordelia M
Marston, James Allen
Meadowcroft, Robert R
Meadowcroft, William Henry
Mellor, George Frederick
Miller, Horace Lee
Norris, Frank Brown
Olden, Catherine Wilkins
Pearl, James Hanks
Peacock, George Winfield
Peck, Emma
Peck, Francis
Peck, Lilly
Pope, Happy Albertina
Porter, Warren Reynold
Prescott, Emma Jane
Prescott, William Syms
Schallenberger, Margaret Everitt
Schallenberger, Lou Townsend
Schoenheight, George William
Searle, Catherine L
Searle, Sophia Caroline
Smith, Mary
Smith, Joseph
Smith, Willette
Stanfield, Tames
Stanfield, Phebe Jane
Thompson, Harry Scott
Toms, Joseph Henry
Warhurst, Ralph King
Warhurst, Thomas Kussuth
Warhurst, Lizzie Ann
Watkins, Edmond Cairns
Weed, Hampton
Wells, Harriet Mary
Wells, David Ashley
White, Rebecca Alexander
White, Charles Brooks
White, Elbert Lockwood
White, Anna Magdalen
White, Howard
Yoell, Alice Virginia
Yoell, James Alexander
Yoell, John Hampden

Bishop Kip, Episcopal Bishop of California from 1853-1893

Source: Kip, William Ingraham, The Early Days of My Episcopate 1853-1860 (1892)
Section I:  Convention in California held in July 1850 at Trinity Church, San Francisco for the purpose of organizing a Diocese of California.  William Ingraham Kip, Rector of St. Peter’s, Morristown, NJ was elected by the House of Bishops meeting in NY City in October 1853.  He sailed to Panama, crossed the Isthmus, and arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday, January 18, 1854.   His journals of his first six years in California represent some of the most important historical documents in California and the source for the founding of the Episcopal Church in the state.
Section XVII  San Jose, May 1854
“This place (San José) is considerably larger than Santa Clara, and has the same mixture of American and old Californian population.  The valley in which it is situated is about twenty miles broad by a hundred long (sic), hemmed in by mountains.  With a climate of perpetual summer, it is considered one of the garden spots of California and when the projected railroad connecting it with San Francisco is finished, this valley will be filled with the villas of citizens who will take refuge here at times from the crowded city.  The legislature once met here, but it proved to be too dull a  place for their taste and they preferred the bustle of Sacramento.  It is indeed as quiet as can well be conceived, presenting a strange contrast to the usual excitement of California.  We look out from the balcony of the house where we are staying, and opposite are Spanish adobe houses, the inmates of which seem to be lounging about, enjoying the dolce far niente, never excited except when on horseback.  Afternoons come warm and quiet:  the whole population seems to be taking its siesta and you here no sound except the insects wheeling round and drowning in the air.”
Wednesday, May 24th “At evening we had our first service.  The Presbyterian house of worship had been courteously given us for the occasion.  The building, which was small, was well filled, and I found later that there were many Church people in the neighborhood.  Among those present was a classmate of mine at Yale College – Mr. Douglas – whom I had not seen since we graduated in 1831.  He became a Congregational minister and since been a teacher in the Young Chief’s School at Sandwich Island
Go to: and search for either “The Early Days of My Episcopate” or William Ingraham Kip

San José in 1850’s

The first enumeration of the inhabitants of the pueblo of San Jose was taken in 1831 and showed 166 men, 145 women, 103 boys and 110 girls, making a total of 524. Overland travel to California did not commence until the 1840's.  The first foreigner to locate in this valley was John Gilroy, who was a sailor on board a vessel belonging to the Hudson Bay Company that touched at Monterey in 1814.  He was a Scottsman and the causes for his abandoning ship are differently stated.  One report was that he had a quarrel with one of the officers and deserted, while it is just as positively stated that he had a severe attack of scurvy and was left on shore to be cured.  However that might have been it is well authenticated that in the same year, he found his way into the Santa Clara Valley, locating at San Ysidro, afterward named Gilroy.  He was hospitably entertained and finally married into the wealthy family of the Ortegas.  He was a man of great force of character and accumulated a large property in lands and cattle but died poor in 1869.

In 1818 there came to San Jose a man whose names is historic in this community, Don Antonio Sunol.  He was a native of Barcelona, Spain, but had served in the French navy under the First Empire.  He was an officer of distinction and was present when Napoleon surrendered after Waterloo.  He then sought the New World and settled in Santa Clara Valley where he achieved distinction, wealth and respect.  He died in San Jose in 1865.

The first citizen of the United States to settle in Santa Clara Valley was Philip Doak.  He was a block and tackle maker employed on a whaling vessel.  Leaving salt water at Monterey in 1822 he journeyed northward to settle near Gilroy.  His home was on the ranch of Mariano Castro, one of whose daughters he afterward married.  Matthew Fellom came to the valley the same year and located near San Ysidro, or old Gilroy as it was afterward called.  Fellom was a Dane and like Doak was a whaler.  He left his vessel at one of the northern ports and made his way overland to the Santa Clara Valley.  He died in 1873.

These are the only foreigners, of which there is record, who were living in the valley up to 1830, if William Willis, an Englishman, is excepted. He was known to be in the pueblo in 1828, but his subsequent history is not known.  It has been estimated that in 1830 there were not more than 100 foreigners in the whole of California.  John Burton came to San Jose in 1830.  He was afterward alcalde of the pueblo.  Harry Bee, who died in San Jose in 1897 as the oldest pioneer in the county, came to the Valley in 1833.  He had been in the state seven years, having landed at Monterey as an English sailor in 1827.  He was born in 1809 and during the Mexican War acted as scout and courier for Commodore Sloat.  In the same year came William Gulnac, James Alexander Forbes, James Weekes, Nicolas Dodero, John Price, WIlliam Smith, George Fergus, Thomas Pepper, a man called "Blind Tom", William Welsh, Charles Brown and "Moche Dan."  Thomas Brown and William Daily came in 1834.  Of these several were prominent either in the early days orf in the later history of California.  Gulnac was for many years major domo at the Mission San Jose in Alameda county.  He married a daughter of the  Cesenas.  Forbes was vice- counsul for Great Britian.  Weekes  served as Alcalde in 1847.  In 1838 Henry Woods and Lawrence Carmichael arrived.

These people all came by vessel and chance decided their location.  They affiliated with the Spanish population, in many cases marrying into the their families, and adopting, to a great extent, the Spanish customs and modes of living.  Overland travel commenced about 1841.  Even before this time settlements have been made in Oregon, and that country was much better known than California.  For this reason, and because California was in a foreign country, all the overland trains were pointed to Oregon.  Some of these trains having reached the Sierras and hearing something of California, came here instead.  In 1841 Josiah Belden, Charles M. Weber and Grove C. Cook came overland, as did Henry Pitts, Peter Springer, William Wiggins and James Rock.  In 1843 Major S. J. Hensley, Julius Martin, Thomas J. Shadden and Winston Bennett  made the trip across the plains.  The advent of this party was an important incident, as with it came three women, wives of Martin, Shadden and Bennett, the first foreign women to settle in this district.  In 1844 came the Murphy party and captain Stephens.  The Murphy part consisted of Martin Murphy, Sr.; his wife, five sons and two daughters; James Miller, afterwards an honored resident ot Marin County' Dr. John Townsend, and wife ,Moses Shallenberger, father of Margaret Schallenberger McNaught, later State Commissioner of Education; Joseph Foster, Mr. Hitchcock and family; Thomas Hudson, Clemente Columbet and Martin Corcoran.  Mr. Townsend and his wife died of cholera in 1850; and Martin Murphy, Sr., passed away in 1865.   In 1845 Frank Lightston, J. Washburn, William O'Connor, W. C. Wilson, John Daubenbiss and James Stokes came to the county.  In 1846 the arrivals were Isaac Branham, Jacob D. Hoppe., Charles White, Joseph Aram, Zachariah Jones, James F. Reed, George Donner and his two sisters; Arthur Caldwell, William Daniles, Samuel Young,. A A. Hecox, William Hunt, William Fisher, Edward Pyle and their families; Wesley Hoover and John Whisman and wives; William and Thomas Campbell and their families; Peter Quincy and family; Thomas Kell, Thomas West and four sons; John Snyder, S. R. Moultrie, Williiam J. Parr, Joseph A. Lard, Mrs. W. H. Lowe, Mrs. E. Markham, L. C. Young, R. J. Young, M.D Young, S. Cc Young, Samuel Q. Broughton, R. F. Peckham, Z. Rochon, Joseph Stillwell, George Cross, Ramon S. Cesena, M. Holloway, Edward Johnson, Mrs. Martha J. Lewis and James Enright.