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The Chronicle of Christ Church

By Deaconess Josephine A. Lyon (1862-1939)

New Haven, Connecticut: Quinnipiack Press, no date.


NEW HAVEN, April 17. 1856.

Rev. and dear Sir.

The undersigned Wardens of the Parish of Christ Church feel much pleasure at being delegated to inform you of the adoption of the Resolutions, a copy of which we beg leave to enclose. And although under the circumstances of the organization of this Parish, the adoption of such resolutions might have been anticipated. Yet we believe it would be difficult justly to estimate the very high regard entertained for you personally by the members of the Parish, or to estimate the amount of usefulness that may result from your ministrations and labours therein. In these sentiments we most fully participate, therefore are we impelled no less by our own desires and sense of duty, than by those resolutions, respectfully and earnestly to request your acceptance of the call thus extended to you.

We are Rev. Sir, very respctfully

Your Obt. Servt.s


To the Rev. Joseph Brewster.

* * *

NEW HAVEN, April 21. 1856.

Messrs Townsend and Phillips
Wardens of Christ Church

Dear Sirs.

Your letter of the 17th. inst enclosing a copy of the resolutions inviting me to the Rectorship of Christ Church is received. Although, as you observe, the adoption of such resolutions was not altogether unexpected, I was not prepared [151/152] for the encouraging expressions of regard and confidence with which they were communicated to me.

In formally accepting the office to which you have called me, I cannot refrain from asking a continuance of that same indulgence with which my ministrations have been hitherto received, as well as that individual co-operation which has thus far attended our progress, and which by God's blessing shall not fail to realize for our new parish the most sanguine expectations of its founders and friends.

Believe me to be Gentlemen

Very respectfully and truly yours,




When the report of the committee was accepted, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

Whereas in the Providence of God it has pleased Him to bless the ministration of His word in our midst, and

Whereas we believe that the formation of a new Parish would tend to the extension of the Church and its consequent usefulness,

Therefore, Resolved that we the worshipers in Christ Church deem it advisable to form a new Parish in this section of the city.

Resolved. That a committee of three be appointed to acquaint Trinity Parish with our wishes at its annual meeting to be held on the 24th inst. and to take such action as circumstances may require. On motion Messrs. N. S. Hallenbeck, Francois Turner, and R. F. Lyon were appointed such committee.

At a meeting of individuals attending Christ Church held at the Church on the evening of March 31st, 1856, in pursuance of a call by the Committee appointed on Easter Sunday, Wm. M. Townsend, II, was appointed Chairman, and the Committee reported that, having communicated to the Wardens and Vestry of Trinity Church the action of the previous meeting, they found no legal connexion existing between that parish and Christ Church; therefore, the way was open to form a new Society in accordance with the laws of the state, 'and that a book with a proper agreement was provided for the signatures of such persons as desired to unite in forming such Society, whereupon the following persons signed the Articles of Association thus constituting, Mar. 31st, 1856, The Society of Christ Church Parish.

Thomas Phillips
L. B. Baldwin
Jonathan Collins
John Haberle
John G. Miller
N. S. Hallenbeck
Richard F. Lyon
John Holland
William Townsend, II
Geo. C. Plumb
Rufus Booth
Francois Turner

[154] A committee consisting of Rev. Joseph Brewster, Rufus Booth, N. S. Hallenbeck, Francois Turner, and Richard F. Lyon was appointed to get the consent of the Bishop and the Rectors of the city to the formation of a new Parish as required by the Canons.

At a meeting of the Society of Christ Church held at the Church on the evening of April 8th, 1856, the Committee appointed to procure canonical consent to the organization of a new Parish presented the following documents which were read.


The following men added their names to the Articles of Association.
Apr. 8, 1856.

Henry M. Smith Birdseye C. Lake

Edwin Robbins Charles F. Beach

Edward Goodsell Charles G. Bostwick Howard B. Ensign

Officers of the new Parish were then elected as follows: Wardens

Wm. Townsend, II Thos. Phillips

MIDDLETOWN, Apr. 4, 1856

I hereby give for the Bishop of the Diocese and for myself our canonical consent to the establishment of a new Parish in the City of New Haven and to the organization of the same by the congregation now worshipping in the edifice in the said City known as Christ Church.

JOHN WILLIAMS, 4ssistant Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut.

"We the subscribers, Rectors of the several Churches in New Haven, hereby express our consent to the organization of an independent Parish in the western part of the City under the name of Christ Church.

April 2, 1856.


Rector Trinity Church


Rector of S. Thomas Church A. N. LITTLEJOHN,

Rector of S.Paul's Church


N. S. Hallenbeck Henry M. Smith

Francois Turner Howard B. Ensign

Rufus Booth Edward Goodsell

Birdseye C. Lake Jonathan Collins

Edwin Robbins Richard F. Lyon

Clerk, Richard F. Lyon Collector, N. S. Hallenbeck Treasurer, Birdseye Lake

The Wardens were appointed delegates to the Diocesan Convention and Messrs. Lyon and Robbins alternates.

Apr. 9, 1856. The first meeting of the Vestry was held at the house of Warden Phillips who presided as Chairman, and Messrs. Hallenbeck, Turner, Robbins, Lake, and Lyon, Vestrymen were present.

Messrs. Hallenbeck, Lyon, and Robbins were appointed a music committee.

Messrs. Lake, Booth, and Ensign to employ sexton and have general care of Church edifice.

[156] Messrs. Booth, Lake, and Ensign a special committee to enquire into the expediency of properly ventilating the Church and report at a future meeting.

The Wardens were appointed to inform the Wardens and Vestry of Trinity Church of the formation of Christ Church and to confer with them and with the Misses Edwards concerning the transfer of Christ Church and the lot upon which it stands or the use of the same to the Wardens and Vestry of Christ Church Parish.

The following preamble and resolutions from the Vestry of Trinity Church were read and ordered on record.

At a meeting of the Wardens and Vestry of Trinity Church at the office of P. S. Galpin on Monday evening, Apr. 14, 1856, the following preamble and votes were passed unanimously: Whereas a new Episcopal Society has been duly organized in New Haven under the corporate name of the "Society of Christ Church Parish" and composed mainly of individuals who have hitherto attended upon the services held under the direction and control of the Rector, Wardens, and Vestry of Trinity Church in the Mission Chapel known as Christ Church situated, on the corner of Park and Maple Streets and whereas the organization of said new parish is unanimously approved by the Rector, Wardens, and Vestry of Trinity Church therefore Voted: that the use and occupancy of said Mission Chapel and its appurtenances be tendered to the said "Society of Christ Church Parish" from the first of July next and until further notice as a House of Worship for said new Parish upon condition that the seats in said Chapel shall remain free to all attendants upon the religious services held therein.

Voted: That the Rev. Joseph Brewster minister in charge of the Mission of Christ Church be notified of the intention of this Vestry to transfer the use of said building and the control of the services held therein to said new Parish of Christ Church and that the thanks of the Wardens and Vestry be tendered to him for the Christian fidelity, zeal, and patience exhibited in the discharge of all his duties in the field.


March 12th. 1869.


Enclosed you will find a copy of the resolutions adopted by you, when you accepted on the prescribed conditions, our last offering of fifteen hundred dollars to Christ Church.

By referring to your subscription book you will also find, we presume, that the money was given conditionally, and the gentlemen who made application to us for aid viz. Mr. Lyon and Mr. Lake, will doubtless remember that we used very strong language respecting the opening of the church for week-day prayers.

We have waited in vain for the fulfillment of these conditions; you will not therefore be surprised to be notified that we consider the gift forfeited, and that the Parish is responsible for the payment of the sum which has not secured the object for which it was contributed.




77 WALL STREET. April 24, 1876.

Messrs Wurts & Bassett Dear Brethren

I have given very careful consideration to the request of the Parish as conveyed by you; and in compliance of what seems to be the general desire, and that of Bishop Williams, I hereby withdraw my resignation of the Rectorship of Christ Church.

The expression of the general feeling towards me, by vote, and by individual communications, has been very gratifying. I trust, if it please God, that I may do nothing to forfeit the confidence which has been reposed in me. I am

Sincerely yours



"It is a great satisfaction to have at Christ Church such a magnificent memorial to its first rector. The wood-carving reflects the greatest credit upon Kirchmayer, the most expert man probably in this country in this special line of work, one who learned his art at Ober Ammergau. Kirchmayer it is who made our choir stalls, our organ case, our rood screen and font canopy. All these make it not improbable that Christ Church has more fine wood-carving than any church in this country. We may say this not boastfully but as a just tribute to Mr. Vaughan the designer who wrote: ‘Kirchmayer took the greatest pride and pleasure in his work. He made models in pine for me of every bit of the carving.' Perhaps the finest thing about the pulpit is the beautifully carved figure of our Lord upon the Cross and its exquisite proportions."

(Written by Dr. Morgan. January 19o8.)



April 27th., 1891. NEW HAVEN.

. . . "I wished to write you to congratulate you on the leaven which you introduced into our Church Politic while you were with us, and to tell you the result. Christ Church has now a better attendance than any other Parish of its size. Its members are united and working together for the common good. Its Rector, the Rev. G. Brinley Morgan, has taken up the work as you left it, and gone quite a little beyond, so that our Church Service is beautiful and attractive. Yet without you to break the Ice, and make a Martyr of yourself, we should not have reached our present Altitude.

We have a new organ, new vestments and Altar furnishings, and not a cent of indebtedness has been allowed to accumulate.


November 5th., 1918.

. . . "Be sure we do not forget your excellent work in New Haven."

(Dr. Van Allen. Church of the Advent, Boston.)

October 3rd., 1927.

. . . "The splendid ministry you had in Christ Church is still bearing good seed. . . . I am sure you have given your best for the Faith."

(Father Huntington. O.H.C.)

February 14th., 1929.

. . . "I know Christ Church, New Haven, and have even had the privilege of saying Mass there and preaching too. None of the Catholic work there would have been possible had you not had the courage to begin the Catholic practises there."

(Father Spence Burton. Society of St. John the Evangelist. Cambridge, Mass.)

Dr. Morgan wrote to Dr. Van Deerlin soon after the former had entered upon the rectorship of Christ Church: "I am quite sure that I could not have begun this Catholic work; but I can carry it on."

From a letter to Deaconess Lyon from Dr. Van Deerlin, written on February loth. 1931. "The younger generation that is now enjoying all the blessings and privileges of a Catholic parish know little, if anything, of the heartaches and trials and sufferings that lie at the foundation. . . . It is my impression that Fr. Hall, S.S.J.E. (afterwards Bishop of Vermont) who was a close friend of mine recommended Dr. Morgan to the Vestry. I believe I am right. . . . Mr. Westervelt sent me a clipping of the death of Mr. George Miller, whom I knew very well. He was very much opposed to what was called my ‘High Church ways.' Reporters used to get a lot of stuff from some of the Vestry. . . . Did you know a Mr. Nettleton? He was hot on my trail. Those were stirring days."


In the passing away of Henry Vaughan a great silent force has gone out of American architecture. A man who said nothing, but did much. Of his seventy-two years of life thirty-six were spent in America. Always busy, but never rushed, the casual observer may wonder why more of his work is not better known. But, true artist that he was, he cared little whether it was known or not, so long as it was well done, and he was as conscientious and as painstaking in designing a hundred-dollar gravestone to go in a country churchyard as in the design of a city church which would be seen by all.

His work was always his own—as little as possible was entrusted to draughtsmen; even many of the full-size details were drawn by his own hands.

That he did not identify himself with the architectural societies of which he was a member was not due to a lack of interest in the welfare of the profession nor to any unsociability upon his part, but to the love of his own work and the knowledge of the fact that a man can only do a certain amount no matter how hard and steadily he may work.

Mr. Vaughan was, as the great majority of the profession know, an Englishman by birth, a student of Sir Gilbert Scott and for some years head draughtsman in the office of Messrs. Bodley and Garner. He came to America in 1881, and can be said to have been the real interpreter of Gothic architecture in America. To be sure, Upjohn, Renwick, Haight, and Ware had been trying to do Gothic work, but Gothic architecture had never been a living reality in this country until Henry Vaughan began his work, which may have been equaled, but will never be surpassed. To make the assertion that his influence and the inspiration given by his work have made possible the very high class of Gothic work done by his contemporaries is not making too great a claim for him.

To give a list of the work of Mr. Vaughan would be impossible, as during his entire career he was steadily employed, [162/163] aside from the work of designing buildings, in the designing of altars, screens, choir stalls, memorial tablets, communion services, altar crosses and candlesticks, which were scattered all over the country, to say nothing of a great number of gravestones which are in many parts of New England. His most important works were: St. Paul's School Chapel, Concord; Chapel for Groton School, Groton, Mass.; Christ Church, New Haven, Conn.; Chapel and Parish House, Church of the Incarnation, New York; Church of the Mediator, King's Bridge, New York City; Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hills, Mass.; Stone Memorial Chapel, Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio; the Potter, Huntington and Bowdoin Chapels, in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York; and the Cathedral of St. Alban at Washington, D. C., now in process of construction; also a number of school and college buildings and some residential work.

No tribute to Henry Vaughan the man and the artist would be complete without a word on Henry Vaughan the man of God. He was a Christian and a churchman of the truest and best type, devoid of cant and hypocrisy, who walked humbly with his God and delighted in doing good. His charities were always done quietly and without publicity, never letting his left hand know what his right hand did. He was one of the gentlest and kindest of natures, loved all the lesser creatures, condemned hunting because it took life, and at one time had all the sparrows in Pemberton Square, where he had his offices, coming to his office to be fed. Such was Henry Vaughan—man, artist, and Christian.


Architectural Record, v. 42, p. 286, Sept. 1917. (the year Mr. Vaughan died)

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