By the Rev. George C. Tanner
In her book entitled "Memories of Fort Snelling," Mrs. Charlotte O. Van Cleve writes: "Another of my earliest recollections is the Sunday School, established by Mrs. Colonel Snelling and my mother . . . They gathered the children together on Sabbath afternoons in the basement room of the commanding officer's quarters, and held a service, with the aid of the Episcopal prayer book, both of them being devout members of that branch of the church." And she adds, "There are good grounds for believing this the first Sunday School organized in this Northwestern region, perhaps the first northwest of Detroit."
As Mrs. Van Cleve speaks of moving into the fort in 1821, and of leaving the ''beloved" fort in 1827, the opening of this Sunday School was probably about the time of the earlier date. Thus we are indebted to Mrs. Josiah Snelling and Mrs. Nathan Clark for the earliest attempt to establish the institutions of the Christian religion in what was then a remote wilderness. We have no further account of the fortunes of this Sunday School. No doubt it was kept up while these devout women remained, though varying with the personnel of the garrison.
In the year 1838, the Rev. Ezekiel Gilbert Gear, missionary pastor of the Episcopal church at Galena, Ill., received the appointment of chaplain at Fort Snelling. At the earnest solicitation of General Brooke and the officers of the post, he decided to accept this position. He was then serving as missionary of the Domestic Board of Missions of the Episcopal Church. In his letter of resignation to the Board he said, "A considerable settlement has already been commenced in the neighborhood of the fort; and it is the understanding that I am at liberty to extend my labors among them."
This letter having been read at a meeting of the Committee in New York, his resignation was accepted; and the Precinct of St. Peter's, Iowa,--for so the region round about Fort Snelling was designated,--was adopted as a station, with the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Rev. E. G. Gear be appointed missionary in the Precinct of St. Peter, Iowa, and that the Committee accede to his kind proposal to act without a salary.
It will be seen from the tone of his letter, that Mr. Gear did not accept this position as a sinecure, but for positive good. Born and reared in Connecticut, and serving in the ministry under Bishop Hobart in western New York, where he had become familiar with missionary work among the Six Nations, genial as a companion in social life, and commanding respect for his strength of character and excellence of purpose, "an old Roman," as Bishop Whipple once called him, few men could have been found to fill the position more usefully and acceptably than the Rev. E. G. Gear.
At a meeting of the Domestic Committee held in September, 1838, it was stated that there was not a single clergyman of the Episcopal Church in the Territory of Iowa, which then included Minnesota west of the Missisippi, and that only a few occasional services had been held in this extensive region. The population of the country afterward set off as the Territory of Minnesota might have been five hundred, perhaps not half that number. These were the officers and soldiers at Fort Snelling, Indian agents and their families, and the agents and employees of the American Fur Company.
It was already late in the season when Mr. Gear set out for his remote home, traveling first to Fort Crawford, at Prairie du Chien. From this point the journey was to be made by sledges on the ice of the Mississippi river. Here he met with a severe injury, which kept him at Fort Crawford all winter. It was not until spring that he reached Fort Snelling, where he reported for duty in April, 1839.
In a letter hearing date of July 27th, he wrote: "The whole number of souls inside the walls, including officers and families, is about 200, and as many more are expected in the fall. The American Fur Company's establishment and two or three other families, and a few French and half-breeds, embrace all the civilized population of the neighborhood." The prospect of usefulness was not greater than he had reason to expect. "The officers and their families, many of the soldiers, and a considerable proportion of those outside the fort, attended Divine Service regularly; and the responses, at first feeble and indistinct, are made with much solemnity and propriety. I have not yet administered the Communion;--there are no communicants outside my own family."
The first thing which naturally attracted his attention was the condition of the Indians around him. He spoke of them as miserable and degraded. There were three or four missionary establishments a short distance away, under the direction of the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Swiss Protestants. Little, however, had thus far been effected among these people. "Recently," he wrote in one of his letters, "a great battle has been fought between the Sioux who live near the fort and the Chippeways who live farther north, in which about two hundred have been killed. The Sioux have just returned with the scalps of their enemies and commenced the horrid drama peculiar on this occasion."
During the summer of 1839 Mr. Gear continued to officiate twice on Sundays, until cold weather. Attendance was voluntary, on account of the size of the room. There was no chapel. Many of the soldiers, with some from outside the garrison, were regular attendants and joined in the responses. Christmas Day he celebrated the Holy Communion for the first time,--the first celebration, in all probability, of the Lord's Supper by a clergyman of the Episcopal Church in the territory now included in Minnesota. Five persons, one a soldier, received the sacrament. Three children had been baptized, and two marriages solemnized. He had also gathered into a Sunday School the dozen or so of children within the garrison.
The condition of the Indians continued to excite his deepest sympathy. "If a man of the proper cast could be found," he wrote to the Gospel Messenger, "to live among them,--a man capable of enduring hardships and privations like a good soldier, and apt to learn their language, and meet to teach them by example as well as by precept, much might be done."
During the latter part of the summer of 1840, the removal of the Winnebagoes required the absence of three-fourths of the garrison, so that the number attending the services was smaller than usual. In his report he said, "At the last Communion fourteen partook, a majority being Methodists, Presbyterians, and Swiss Protestants, connected with the missions for the Sioux and Chippeways." Among these was the Rev. John Johnson Enmegahbowh, an Ojibway from Canada, who afterward became a member of the mission of the Rev. James Lloyd Breck to the Ojibways at Gull lake, and was a clergyman of the Episcopal Church.
A small settlement had been made at the Falls of the St. Croix, a hundred miles distant. With the exception of a few scattered families, this was the only settlement of whites above Prairie du Chien, outside of Fort Snelling. He could not, however, visit so remote a point.
In 1843 we hear him again pleading for the Indians with his wonted earnestness. The Sioux and Ojibways, having prosecuted war for the last four or five years with savage ferocity, had, through the intervention of the officers of the government, made a treaty of peace. The proposition came from the Ojibways, and their principal chief, Hole-in-the-Day, declared his wish to live like white men. He called upon Father Gear, and in a long conversation stated his wishes, and asked that a clergyman of this Church might be sent among them. This Mr. Gear promised to make known to the Church and to communicate to him the result.
Referring again to Enmegahbowh, Father Gear adds: "A native Chippeway, well qualified to act as interpreter, catechist, schoolmaster, translator, and teacher of the language, is on the ground willing and anxious to co-operate with us. He is an educated man and a Christian. He is decidedly of the opinion that our services are better calculated to impress and interest the Indians than any other. I gave him a Prayer Book when I first became acquainted with him, and he informs me that he has translated some portions of it into the language and could readily prepare it for the press."
The year 1843 marks the first visit of Bishop Kemper to the territory now known as Minnesota. Of this visit the Bishop says: "Having unexpectedly received an invitation to go to St. Peter's, as the neighborhood at the mouth of the St. Peter's or Minnesota river was then designated, I determined, if possible, to embrace the very favorable opportunity that was offered me through the kindness of Captain Throckmorton of the steamer General Brookes, to visit the chaplain of Fort Snelling, the Rev. E. G. Gear, who is connected with my jurisdiction. Having made all necessary arrangements while the boat was at Galena, I ascended the upper Mississippi, spent some delightful hours with the chaplain, found him comfortably situated and usefully employed, and obtained some useful information concerning the northern tribes of the aborigines, which may be of use to the Church at a future day." This visit is noted in the Diary of the Bishop as taking place August 26th, 1843.
Amid such surroundings Father Gear held the first services of the Church. From his own record it appears that he held a service in St. Paul and preached, December 24th, 1845. In a letter written June 30th, 1850, the Rev. J. Lloyd Breck speaks of the service of the chaplain of Fort Snelling at St. Paul five years before. Mr. Breck says: "This was the first English Service in St. Paul. . . . From that time there were more or less of the services of the Church, although at times they were interrupted for six months together . . . But it must be borne in mind that only within the last year or two have settlers come in."
The number of settlers up to 1850 was estimated at from fifteen to eighteen hundred. This service held by Father Gear at St. Paul was in addition to his morning and evening services at the fort, with his school duties during the week.
It is also probable that the service which he held at the Falls of St. Anthony on February 5th, 1848, was the first religious service in that place. The village of St. Anthony was not even platted. We do not find record of any service prior to that of Dr. Gear. There could have been but few families there. The first school was opened more than a year later; there was no post office and no mail; nor had any religious society been organized.
THE REV. E. A. GREENLEAF IN THE ST. CROIX VALLEY.
About the year 1840 the valley of the St. Croix began to attract the attention of immigrants interested in lumbering. In the autumn of 1843 John McKusick from Maine, and Elam Greeley from New Hampshire, came and selected the site of Stillwater as their home. The first frame building was erected in the spring of 1844. April 1st of the following year, the Rev. E. A. Greenleaf was appointed missionary of the Domestic Board in the St. Croix valley, and held his first service in Stillwater in June, 1846, in a house on Main street. In one of his letters, as follows, he described the religious condition of the place.
I found the people wholly destitute of religious teaching . . . No Protestant minister in all this region . . . The people had very little regard for anything of a religious nature . . . profanity, gambling and drinking . . . no school of any description in all the country; . . . I have been obliged to officiate in private houses, and in such rooms as we could obtain. ... I have nothing beside my stipend, except a trifle from the people occasionally, . . . have received only seventeen dollars for the last six months.
During the year 1846 Mr. Greenleaf baptized three children, and on Christmas day administered for the first time the Lord's Supper, to four communicants. In June, 1847, he solemnized the marriage of John McKusick and Phoebe Greeley, according to the rites of the Prayer Book. It was a union broken after a few months by the passing away of the young wife, over whose remains the burial office was said by the chaplain of Fort Snelling, who came in a heavy snowstorm in March, 1848, over the trackless prairie, to bring the consolations of the Church to the desolate home.
At his first visit to the territory which is now Minnesota, in 1843, of a few hours only, Bishop Kemper had performed no episcopal duty. May 7th, 1848, he made his first visitation, on which occasion he confirmed four persons at Stillwater, Mrs. Hannah Greeley, mother of Elam Greeley, and her daughters, Service C., and Sarah C. Greeley, and Mrs. Elizabeth J. G. Harris, whose beautiful life was long remembered in this home of her adoption. Of this visit in 1848 the Bishop wrote:
Two or three days were passed with the excellent and faithful pioneer missionary, the Rev. E. A. Greenleaf, on the St. Croix. The place is new and small, but may be of considerable importance, as I learn it will be included in one of the new Northwestern Territories which are to be organized by the present Congress. I am therefore exceedingly anxious that Mr. Greenleaf should remain there, and be properly sustained, for he was the first, and, I believe, is yet the only resident minister in the place. I preached twice on Sunday, and confirmed four persons. There are some settlements in this upper country which I earnestly desired to visit; but my time was limited in consequence of the approaching conventions of Indiana and Wisconsin; besides, I had made various appointments in Iowa, and the boats were as yet few and very uncertain. I was therefore compelled to take the first opportunity to descend the Mississippi.
In a report of Mr. Greenleaf made in 1847, we find him officiating alternately at Stillwater and Prairie Farm, about four miles distant, and one Sunday at the mouth of the lake St. Croix, where Prescott and Point Douglas are now located; and at another time at Fort Snelling, at the funeral of a son of the chaplain. He reports one baptism, three burials, and three celebrations of the Lord's Supper. The number of communicants in his cure was now seven.
In his last report of his work, for the quarter ending, probably, July 1st, 1848, he had read prayers and preached eight times at the Falls of the St. Croix, four times at St. Paul, twice at Cottage Grove, sixteen times at Prairie Fann, and about twenty times at Stillwater. He had baptized one child, and buried four persons. The missionary wrote hopefully of the future. The villages at the Falls of the St. Croix and of St. Anthony, as also St. Paul and Stillwater, were rapidly growing. No church had yet been built, and the services at Stillwater were held in a hall. The missionary had begun a house, partly to shelter his family, and partly to afford a room for a school and for the services of the church, being resolved to add teaching to his other work. The house referred to was destroyed by a hurricane almost as soon as completed. This with other circumstances compelled him to resign his work and to remove to another field of labor, after which no services of this church were held in Stillwater until the coming of the Associate Mission in 1850.
On the removal of Mr. Greenleaf, Father Gear at Fort Snelling became the sole representative of his church in the Territory, or, rather, the "Precinct of St. Peter's." The early Episcopal services in St. Paul, begun by Father Gear, as before noted, in 1845, were held in the house of Henry Jackson. This was open to all ministers "in good and regular standing," who always found a welcome hospitality beneath his roof. These services were advertised from house to house, as was customary in rural districts and hamlets. The printing press had not yet arrived.
The first public building to be erected was the little school-house, which is thus described:
A little log hovel, covered with bark and chinked with mud, previously used as a blacksmith shop, ten by twelve feet. On three sides of the interior of this humble cabin, pegs were driven into the logs, upon which boards were laid for seats. A seat reserved for visitors was made by placing one end of a plank between cracks in the logs, and the other end upon; a chair. A cross-legged, rickety table in the center, and a hen's nest in the corner, completed the furniture.
In 1848 St. Paul was just emerging from a collection of birch-roof cabins of early traders and voyageurs. Here and there might be seen a frame house of some pretensions. The population had increased from 250 to 300, in view of the prospect that it might be mentioned in the organic act of the territory as the capital. Such was the condition of things when the service of the Book of Common Prayer became a fixed fact in "the upper town" in St. Paul. The interest grew under the ministrations of Father Gear, so that at Christmas, 1849, divine worship was held in the new schoolhouse, decorated for the Occasion. The services also became more frequent, and were held every alternate Sunday. Measures were being taken to organize a parish and build a church. Father Gear continued to officiate until the coming of Mr. Breck and his associates, Wilcoxson and Merrick. His last appointment was for Sunday, June 30th, 1850.
The following account is taken from the diary of the Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson.
On Whitsunday, May 19th, 1850, I preached my farewell in Christ Church, Harwinton, Conn. . . . On Saturday I went to New York where I spent Trinity Sunday with the Rev. Messrs. J. L. Breck and J. A. Merrick. [The three met by appointment in the Church of the Holy Communion, where, at their request, the Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg, the rector, organized the "Associate Mission for Minnesota." The members agreed to live and labor together for three years, without any additional social ties.] On Wednesday, May 2gth, we started for the West; and we reached the residence of our beloved Bishop Kemper on Tuesday, the 4th of June. Here we spent about two weeks. . . . The third Sunday after Trinity we spent at Nashotah [Wis.], where I took part in the farewell service of the Rev. James Lloyd Breck, late president of that institution. Tuesday, June l8th, we left Nashotah, taking leave of our beloved Bishop and other friends who had become endeared to us by their courteous and Christian behavior. We left Milwaukee on Wednesday morning, reached Janesville in the evening, and arrived at Galena Friday noon. We spent the fourth Sunday after Trinity at Prairie La Crosse, where we had a private service and Holy Communion on a bluff which we called Altar Rock, and a public service at the Landing, at the house of a German named Levy.
The next day being the festival of St. John Baptist, the members of the mission procured a bateau in which they paddled themselves across the river, and proceeding through the tangled vines and brushwood, at a point above La Crosse, held their first service on Minnesota soil beneath a spreading elm. The Rev. Mr. Merrick preached; and the wildness of the place reminded the party of "the voice of one crying in the wilderness." In the afternoon another service was held in the village, at which they baptized one child and gave the Holy Communion to four Lutherans.
On Tuesday a steamboat was descried, breasting the strong current of the river, and the party embarked for their new home. Wednesday morning, June 26th, they came in sight of St. Paul, and as the Nominee (for so the boat was named) was to remain for a few hours, they landed and repaired to a spot three quarters of a mile distant, not far from the present capitol; and beneath one of the spreading oaks on the eminence overlooking the valley they celebrated divine service. For daily prayer was the rule of the Mission from its organization, as was also the practice, then rare in the American branch of the Church, of weekly Communion.
After tarrying three or four hours, the Nominee proceeded to Fort Snelling, where they were cordially welcomed by the venerable chaplain. Here they remained for the rest of the week. At this time Mr. Breck does not appear to have selected a place for his work. "With regard to our Mission in Minnesota," he wrote, "we can only say that it will probably take us six or nine months to explore the Territory sufficiently to fix upon a permanent location.'"
The morning of Sunday, June 30th, was passed at the fort, the clergy joining with the chaplain in the services of the chapel. In the afternoon the Dean of the Mission and Mr. Wilcoxson accompanied Father Gear to St. Paul, where a respectable number of people were assembled, a few of whom were members of the church, to welcome the coming of those who were to give them regular ministrations. Morning service at the fort, a drive to St. Paul in such conveyance as was afforded at that early day, another service at the fort in the evening, all this under infirmity of body, shows the tireless activity with which Father Gear labored on to the end as chaplain, missionary, student, and writer. Mr. Breck wrote:
Rev. Mr. Gear deserves unbounded praise for his self-sacrificing labors here. One fact is well worth recording. The Church has been the first upon the ground, except the Romanists among the half-breeds. This has been the case also at the Falls of St. Anthony. The first English service in St. Paul was celebrated five years ago. And from that time to this there have been more or less of the Church services; although, at times, they have been interrupted for six months together.
In his History of St. Paul, Williams says that the first Protestant service was held by the Rev. Mr. Hurlbr.rt in the autumn of 1844; the second by Mr. Greenleaf in 1846; and the third by Father Gear the same year. Whichever of the two statements we accept, the fact that the Rev. Mr. Gear was in the immediate neighborhood of St. Paul, which even in 1850 gave a census of only 1,300 souls, entitles him to be regarded as the first pioneer Protestant clergyman permanently located in this region. And this is enhanced by the fact that his acceptance of the chaplaincy was conditioned also upon his being considered a missionary of the Board wherever opportunity opened for work which did not conflict with his duties at the Post.
In his report to the General Convention of 1850, Bishop Kemper thus speaks of the services of Mr. Gear: "The Rev. E. G. Gear has resided for some years as chaplain to the garrison at Fort Snelling, and has occasionally communicated to the Church information of great interest concerning the Red River settlements and the aborigines."
Indeed, his early interest and efforts in behalf of the red men entitle Father Gear to be called the Father of Indian Missions of this church in Minnesota. So great, also, was his interest in the work of the Associate Mission in St. Paul that he is to be reckoned almost as one of their number. And a part of the ground" now held in trust by the Minnesota Church Foundation was given by him.
As there were no Church people in St. Paul during the early ministrations of Mr. Gear, he usually brought the interpreter along with him to make the responses. On one occasion, after the hymn from the Prayer Book was announced, a negro who had occasionally attended service at the fort struck up his favorite melody, regardless of the rubric relating to the kind of music to be used in the Church. But no blame was ever laid to the charge of the chaplain from, this accidental violation of church rubrics.
The first service of the Associate Mission in St. Paul was held in the schoolhouse on the bluff fronting the river. At the close, the venerable pioneer arose to give notice that the next appointment would be filled by others. Leaning upon the desk, he spoke of the heartfelt satisfaction it gave him that in the future the services of the Church would be held more frequently by those who would go in and out among them from day to day. Deeply affected, he took leave of the congregation, which from this time would have organic unity, in the words of the canticle of the Even Song, "Praise the Lord, O my soul."
It is due to this first clergyman of this church on the soil of Minnesota to add a few words more. He was a frequent contributor to the Gospel Messenger; and a volume might be filled with his letters. He was a frequent visitor at the mission house in St. Paul. Friday was the day usually selected for this visit, as on Saturday the brethren were away on journeys to meet their Sunday appointments. At the request of Mr. Breck, he laid the corner stone of Christ Church, St. Paul. He preached the first sermon in the Church, of the Holy Trinity at St. Anthony, the first edifice for religious worship erected at that place. It is probable that his service at Shakopee on August 3d, 1853, was the first church service held there.
When Mr. Breck decided to enter the Indian field, the letters of Father Gear to the Gospel Messenger did very much to disseminate information in regard to the Indian missions of the Mother Church of England. He was in frequent communication with; the bishop and clergy of Rupert's Land, who were also his guests en route to and from England. He was the first to direct the attention of Enmegahbowh to the use of the Prayer Book, and was the means of bringing the Associate Mission to Minnesota.
He served the Church in many positions of honor. He was the president of the first standing committee appointed by Bishop Kemper at the first Convocation, held November 4th, 1854, and was chairman of the committee appointed to draft a constitution and canons in 1856. He was a delegate to the General Convention in 1859, and was an active member of the council which elected our first bishop.
After the abandonment of Fort Snelling in 1858, he continued to officiate for the families remaining there and at Mendota, until his appointment as chaplain at Fort Ripley in the spring of 1860. In 1867 he was retired from the service, and soon after removed to Minneapolis, where he continued to reside until his death, which took place October I3th, 1873. At the time of his death he had passed the age of fourscore, was the senior presbyter of the Church in the United States, and had resided in Minnesota thirty-four years.
Mr. Breck and his associates decided to make St. Paul the center of their educational and missionary work. Early in the week following their arrival, about the beginning of July, 1850, a parcel of ground was purchased; and a tent was pitched there a week later for a temporary shelter. One of the number wrote: In the early part of the week we purchased two acres of land [which was afterward increased to three] at fifty dollars per acre, three-fourths of a mile back of the village of St. Paul, on the bluffs in the rear of the town; and the next week we pitched a tent upon it, kindly loaned by the commandant of the fort, in which tent we lived two or three weeks. We contracted with a carpenter to build at once a frame cottage twelve feet by seventeen, at a cost-of one hundred and fifty-one dollars, furnishing everything himself. We now have a shanty enclosed, in which we live, studying, working, eating, and worshipping in the lower part and sleeping in the attic.
We have just cause for gratitude that a kind Providence has watched over us and conducted us in safety through so long a journey. And now every day brings some new comfort. Our friends here at the Fort and from the East are sending useful articles for our table and beds, and we ourselves are enabled to furnish many things with our own hands.
Having made the arrangements of the first few days at their future home in St. Paul, the three clergy walked to Stillwater on Wednesday, July 3, 1850, to arrange for a service the following Lord's Day. It was necessary to ford the numerous swollen streams barefoot; but the journey of twenty miles was safely accomplished. The Rev. Mr. Merrick, being short in stature, remained at the settlement, while the other two returned to St. Paul. Meanwhile young Holcombe, a student from Nashotah, remained in charge of the tent. The dean and the professor spent Sunday, July 7th, in Stillwater, also giving a service in the afternoon at Hudson on the east side of the St. Croix. On their return to Stillwater in the evening, they lost their way and were obliged to spend the night under an umbrella. With their last match they lighted a fire to keep the wild beasts away and to dry their damp clothing, and took turns in tending their camp fire, holding the umbrella and watching against any approaching danger.
Services were thus begun in St. Paul, Stillwater, and St. Anthony (now East Minneapolis), the three places that contained fully half the entire white population of Minnesota. By July 26th they had performed divine service in all the important places in the Territory, and had visited several isolated neighborhoods and families. In a letter written by Father Gear we find the following extract:
The Rev. Mr. Breck and his associates have purchased three acres of land situated on a hill covered with a beautiful oak grove, about half a mile from the river, and commanding a view of the town and an extensive and magnificent prospect in all directions. Here they have commenced a small house, the interior of which will be furnished with their own hands. In the meantime they have been living in a tent kindly lent them by Captain Kirkham of this fort. They cook and eat their frugal meals, and wash their own clothes, under the shade of the trees.
In a letter dated August 13th, 1850, Mr. Breck wrote:
We have (under God) been permitted to establish stations for divine service at the following places: St. Paul, Stillwater on the St. Croix, Cottage Grove, the Falls of St. Anthony. Point Douglas, Willow River settlement, Prairie La Crosse. We propose visiting the Falls of the St. Croix this week, distant from St. Paul fifty miles; and in September we hope to go up the Mississippi one hundred miles to the Sank rapids, exploring the intermediate country. All our journeys are performed on foot. We are unable to keep a horse, much less to purchase one.
The total distance traveled on foot during the year, as given in the diary of Mr. Wilcoxson, was about three thousand miles.
At the earliest day possible, the subject of church building began to receive attention. A meeting of those interested was held at the house of H. A. Lambert, August 1st, to decide upon the expediency of building a church in St. Paul. The Rev. J. L. Breck presided, and Judge Lambert was chosen secretary. A statement was made that Lot 14 of Block 23 (on Cedar street, between Third and Fourth streets) would be donated for this purpose. The location was accepted and a committee was appointed, consisting of Messrs. Charles F. Tracy and H. A. Lambert to ascertain how much could be raised and to report on the Monday evening following, at the same hour and place. At the latter meeting Mr. Lambert reported, in behalf of the committee, that six hundred dollars and upwards might be raised. It was then resolved to obtain estimates of the cost of a church 20 by 40 feet in size, with a tower and chancel. Messrs. H. A. Lambert, George C. Nicols, and J. E. Fullerton, were appointed a building committee.
At a meeting of the committee August 22d, plans were presented with estimates; and two days later the committee decided to accept a plan of a church to cost $1,225. The same month the congregation met and organized the parish of Christ Church by the election of H. A. Lambert and J. T. Halstead, wardens; and Messrs. E. H. Halstead, B. W. Lett, Charles F. Tracy, Henry Tracy, Charles R. Conway, R. R. Nelson, and J. E. Fullerton, vestrymen. J. E. Fullerton was chosen treasurer, and B. W. Lott clerk.
Thursday, September 5th, was appointed as the day for laying the corner stone of the new church. All the clergy of the Church: in the Territory were present, consisting of the Rev. Messrs. Gear, Breck, Wilcoxson, and Merrick. The procession was formed at the hour appointed at the residence of Judge Lambert, on Cedar street, adjoining the site. The 112th Psalm was recited while approaching the spot. At the request of the clergy of the Mission, the service was read by the Rev. E. G. Gear, who also laid the corner stone with the name of Christ Church. A box containing a copy of the Holy Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer, with contemporary documents, was deposited in the corner stone; and an address was delivered by the Rev. T. Austen Merrick. The building was to be in the early pointed style, with a spire fifty-two feet in height, surmounted with a cross. The dimensions were twenty by fifty-five feet, including chancel and tower. Additions were made at a later day, which did not improve its symmetry. This first edifice continued to be used by the parish of Christ Church until the rectorship of the Rev. S. Y. McMasters, D.D., when it was superseded by the present structure of stone.
About the middle of August, a journey of exploration was undertaken to the settlements up the St. Croix, with a view to establishing another chain of mission stations. The points visited included Arcola Mills, Marine Mills, and the Falls of the St. Croix. A part of the route lay through a dense forest, with no habitation for many miles. In the morning the travelers were drenched with water from the overhanging boughs. At noontide the sting of flies was an annoyance, and the eventide brought out an innumerable swarm of mosquitoes to add to their inconvenience. All this was repaid by the hearty welcome extended by the pioneer wherever they went, whether in the log cabin or in the camp of the lumberman. And as a result of the interest awakened by this journey, we find the lumbermen's library provided for the winter logging camp.
The personnel of the three men constituting the St. Paul Mission is worthy our notice.
James Lloyd Breck, the founder of this work, was of honored ancestry. His uncle, the Hon. Samuel Breck of Philadelphia, in a letter to a friend, said, "I have seen at my father's house assembled in a social way the three princes of Orleans, one of whom became King Louis Philippe, Talleyrand, and his inseparable companion, Beaumez, Volney, and other distinguished French noblemen." To such antecedents young Breck added the best of early advantages. His education was in the school of Dr. Muhlenberg. In such an atmosphere his natural gifts unfolded and strengthened, and eight years of residence in the wilds of Wisconsin could not eradicate the courtesy native to his character. Nor were the men associated with him less marked in their character. Merrick, the scholar, too early called, gave to the Mission his richness of intellectual culture; while Wilcoxson, a type of the self-made American, persevering and patient, added an element of practical strength to this self-denying work.
It had been the intention of Mr. Breck to visit the region above St. Paul at an early day. It was not, however, until Wednesday, the 9th of October, 1850, that the dean, accompanied by Mr. Wilcoxson, set out on a journey of eighty miles on foot to Sauk Rapids, then a small trading post. It was the Indian Summer of our northern latitude, when there is a softness in the air and the forests have on their most brilliant hues. This visit is fully described by Mr. Breck in one of those charming letters which he so well knew how to write. They reached the settlement about noon on Saturday, and the following day, October 13th, celebrated for the first time divine service in Sauk Rapids, the most northerly settlement in the Territory. Returning they reached home on Wednesday, having traveled a distance of a hundred and seventy miles, and after an absence of a week. It was their purpose to visit this place once in six weeks through the winter; and a second service was held November 17th, at the house of Jeremiah Russell.
Arrangements were already being made for a church at St. Anthony Falls. Early in October a lot was secured, on Second street, between First and Second avenues north, the gift of Messrs. Steele and Russell; and, although there were as yet no communicants, a few were interested in the church. October 3Oth the corner stone of this second church was laid by the Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson, and it was named the Church of the Holy Trinity. This parish, now in East Minneapolis, is the mother church of that city, as Christ Church is of St. Paul.
The method by which Mr. Breck supported his work was unique. There were no church building societies, or other agencies which in our day render the labors of a new field comparatively easy. The Domestic Missionary Society, though in existence, did not aid the work of the St. Paul Mission. During his residence in Wisconsin at Nashotah, Mr. Breck's romantic work at so early a day, which was a new venture for the Episcopal Church, had raised up many personal friends, who continued their interest when he came to Minnesota. The entire support of this work came through the daily mail, in amounts varying from the widow's mite upward. And yet it was not a day of princely gifts. Five hundred dollars was a munificent sum, and even this was rare. Occasionally a hundred dollars came for some special purpose. But most often it was but a few dollars, and not unfrequently at a time when the larder needed to be replenished. In the latter emergency Mr. Breck speaks in his letters of the thoughtfulness of the people in St. Paul. It was a principle with him never to make appeals from the pulpit, or to traverse the Church for funds to carry on his work.
Early in December the church in St. Paul was ready for use, and it was formally opened on the. second Sunday in Advent. This was the first house of worship of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Aside from the general fitness of the name, the following incident will explain why the name of Christ Church was given to it. A generous layman of Christ Church in Philadelphia, the old historic church of Bishop White, proposed that one thousand dollars be placed at the disposal of Mr. Breck, to be applied as he might think best to any object connected with his mission. In acknowledgment Mr. Breck wrote, "We have named our new church Christ Church, and may it become to the West what your own parish, so venerable, of the same name, has been to the East." The first baptism in the new church was that of an adult and three children on the Sunday before Christmas .
Five objects engaged the attention of the Associate Mission: the education of young men for the ministry, the erection of churches, the endowment of the episcopate, the purchase of land for parish glebes, and the creation of a fund for permanent mission buildings. One-half of the contributions received was to be devoted to these objects, while the other half was to be used for present needs. As a matter of history, we give the following extract from a letter written to the Trustees of the Minnesota Church Foundation by Mr. Breck, and now on rile in their records, kindly given me by Mr. Harvey Officer, secretary of the Board.
Faribault, Minn., 2nd August. 1864. To the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota Church Foundation,
Gentlemen:--Will you permit me, as the original purchaser of all the real estate save one acre belonging to the Minnesota Church Foundation in and about St. Paul, to lay before you some facts which may better aid you in dispensing this trust, in 1850 I came into the Territory of Minnesota, and with clerical associates located at St. Paul. Of Mr. Guerin we made the first purchase of three acres on the bluff to the rear of St. Paul, and then built the first Mission House. This purchase was made with money given to me in New Haven, Conn., by the Misses Edwards, and by J. K. Sass, Esq., of Charleston, S. C, for the purpose, in their minds and in our own, for a second Nashotah, or an establishment for the education of young men for the ministry.
. . . The balance of the Mission grounds in St. Paul was as follows: one acre donated by Father Gear, and the two acres on the north purchased from out of the general funds of our Mission.
When Dr. Van Ingen came into the Territory, it was well understood that the educational feature of the Mission property was to be maintained.
When the Minnesota Church Foundation was organized, the same feature obtained equal prominence along with benevolent works of charity and the support of the Episcopate.
... I trust the intention of the original donors, as well as that of the first purchasers, will have weight in the final disposition which shall be made of their lands. My own opinion is that benevolent works of charity were no part of the original design.
Hence the first of the last named objects, viz., Theological Education in the Diocese of Minnesota and the support of the Episcopate, in equal parts, would be just; and thus divided, be blessed of God.
At the beginning of 1851 it appears that the Associate Mission had fifteen stations, in a territory extending from La Crosse, Wisconsin, to Sauk Rapids, and up the St. Croix. The territory west of the Mississippi had not yet been ceded by the Indians . In the six months since their coming here, the clergy had traveled on foot over 3,000 miles, and by boat or carriage 1,600 more,--a total of over 4,600 miles, through a new country, without bridges, over bad roads, and oftentimes with no roads at all.
In the month of February Mr. Breck made a visit to Fort Ripley, or, as it was then known, Fort Gaines. On the evening of the 12th he arrived at Elk River, which had a single log building, where he spent the night. It was not until the third or fourth day that the journey on foot of a hundred and twenty-five miles was accomplished. The nightfall of Saturday, the 15th, found the missionary at the most remote outpost on the upper Mississippi, where the Rev. Mr. Manney had lately been appointed chaplain, not far from the scene of his future labors among the red men.
It will be of interest to enumerate the points where church work had been begun from St. Paul as a center, at the opening of Lent, 1851, as follows: St. Paul (the upper and lower town), Stillwater, Greeley's Prairie, Point Douglas (Thomas Hetherington's), Cottage Grove, Point Elizabeth, Willow River, Marine, Arcola, Osceola, St. Croix Falls, Red Rock, St. Anthony Falls, Little Canada, Carrington's, Itasca, Sauk Rapids, and Watab, to which must be added La Crosse. Such was the field of the Associate Mission. To meet these appointments, the clergy traveled on foot and in all kinds of weather. "The people were kind beyond their ability," Mr. Breck wrote. Once only had he failed of hospitality, and then, wrapping his Mackinaw blanket around him, he lay down in the school house and enjoyed a night of undisturbed repose. On one occasion Mr. Wilcoxson missed the trail when on his way from Stillwater, and, as he supposes, passed around to the north of White Bear like, reaching the mission somewhat later than usual.
On Thursday of Easter week, 1852, it was resolved at a meeting of the Vestry to place the spiritual direction of Christ Church, St. Paul, under the Associate Mission until circumstances should require a different arrangement. A letter was written to be forwarded to Bishop Kemper, putting- the parish under the pastoral care of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and also a letter to the clergy of the Mission, informing them of the fact, together with a statement of their acceptance of the charge. June 26, the Rev. J. Austen Merrick, clerk of the Mission, acknowledged the receipt of the notification of the organization of the parish of Christ Church, and communicated to the Vestry their acceptance of the missionary charge of the parish, until, by the advice and consent of the bishop, they should call a pastor.
The Church of the Holy Trinity, at St. Anthony, of which the corner stone was laid October 3oth, 1850, as before noted, had so far advanced towards completion as to be opened for divine worship for the first time in the evening of April 15, 1852 (the Thursday before Easter), upon which occasion the Rev. Mr. Gear of Fort Snelling delivered an appropriate discourse. This church was only a section of "what promised in time to be a large and beautiful building." And Mr. Breck adds, "This was the first house of worship erected in this growing town."
This parish was organized by the Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson on Easter Monday, April 12th, 1852. The first baptism in the church edifice was by the Rev. Mr. Merrick, Sunday, December 21st, 1851, when Franklin McAlpin received this sacrament; and the first confirmation was held August 24th, 1851, when a class of four received this rite at the hands of Bishop Kemper, namely, Mrs. Louisa H. McAlpin, Thomas Y. Sentell, Mrs. Amelia Bassett, and Mr. Herman Jenkins.
In one of his letters Father Gear wrote:
It is intended that this edifice when completed shall be twenty-four feet wide by sixty long, besides a chancel of the requisite proportions, and in the early pointed style. ... It occupies a beautiful and commanding site, and is near the place where I saw, eleven years ago, a camp of a party of the Sioux who had left a day or two before on a war expedition into the country of the Chippewas. This camp was an object of considerable interest. ... It consisited of a large number of booths extending in a straight line of several hundred yards, perpendicular to the river, and opposite to the passage between two beautiful islands above the falls. In most of these lodges were evidences of their rites and ceremonies preparatory to war; and at the head of the column was a dead dog, bedaubed with various colors, suspended from a tall pole by the neck, with his face looking to the north, and which had been sacrificed on the occasion to propitiate the Great Spirit. ... It was therefore with no ordinary emotions of pleasure that I assisted at the ceremony of laying the corner stone of the Church of the Holy Trinity in a place associated in my mind with this wild and savage scene.
Among the members of the St. Paul Mission was an educated Swede named Sorenson, who acted as cook, gardener, and man of all work. He was also useful as an interpreter of the mission to the Swedes, who were then found in considerable numbers in St. Paul. At their own request, the clergy gave them occasional services on Sundays and holy days, and performed such other ministrations as occasion required, solemnizing their marriages, baptizing their children, and burying their dead. Indeed, the Rev. Mr. Unonius, pastor of the Episcopal Swedish Church in Chicago, visited St. Paul by special invitation of Mr. Breck, to examine into the merits of the Territory, with a view to recommend it to his countrymen as a suitable home. Already Mr. Breck had been instrumental in forming the nucleus of a settlement of Swedes near one of his stations.
As several congregations of Scandinavians have placed themselves under the supervision of the Episcopal Church with permission to use their own liturgy, it may be interesting to note here that the spiritual oversight of these excellent people was not overlooked by the Associate Mission. In fact, Mr. Breck and his associates forgot no one in their ministrations.
In the diary of Mr. Wilcoxson we find, from time to time, records of Sunday services to the few Norwegians in St. Paul. On New Year's day, 1855, he wrote, "Officiated at Carver, and gave the Communion to thirteen Swedes and Norwegians."
On Ascension Day, May 29th, 1851, the corner stone of Ascension Church, Stillwater, was laid by the Rev. J. A. Merrick,--the Rev. Messrs. Breck, Wilcoxson, and Gear, who comprised the other clergy of the Territory, being present and assisting. This was the third church erected by the St. Paul Mission. It was opened for divine service on Christmas morning, 1851. The first baptism, before the erection of the church, was administered by Mr. Merrick, on August 11th, 1850, to a child, Augustus How Hartshorn, of William E. and Elvira Hartshorn.
Wednesday, July 16th, 1851, was a memorable day in the history of the St. Paul Mission, for the first official visitation of the venerable Bishop Kemper. The following Lord's Day he consecrated Christ Church, the first edifice erected by the Episcopal Church in the Territory. The six communicants whom Mr. Breck found had now increased to eighteen. This visitation of the bishop was prolonged to the 27th of August, during which time he visited all the settlements in the Territory where services had been established. Confirmations were held at Willow River (now Hudson) and St. Croix, Wis.; and at St. Anthony and St. Paul, Minn. At the last place, four persons were confirmed, namely, Mrs. Sophia Tracy, Mrs. Nancy Irvine, Mrs. Jane E. Conway, and Mrs. Frances Powers. A friend wrote as follows:
At this time Bishop Kemper was something over fifty years of age. His frame was erect, his step firm, and his countenance bore the impress of benevolence and kindness of heart. In manner he was quiet. His voice in the pulpit was sweet and musical. His sermons were practical; nor did they lack the graces of composition. But their chief power lay in their earnestness, sincerity, and unaffected goodness. In the social circle he was dignified, yet affable, and he had the happy faculty of making all within his influence feel the sunshine of his presence.
Such was a brief description of the man who for some forty years passed the greater part of his time in the stage coach, and who was known only to be loved-and venerated.
In 1850 there was no diocesan organization. The year 1851 is memorable for the first effort to bring together into organic unity of effort the churchmen of the scattered missions. The St. Paul Mission had been an important step in creating a strong center for church work. The laity were now by concerted action to complete this associated effort. Pursuant to a public notice, a meeting was called to be held in Christ Church, St. Paul, August 25th, for the purpose of organizing a Missionary Society for Minnesota. The object of the society was church extension, and the erection and completion of churches in the Territory. The president was J. Lloyd Breck; and Henry A. Lambert was elected clerk, and J. E. Fullerton treasurer. Other names of members of committees from Christ Church were C. F. Tracy, John Holland, and G. Parker. This missionary association served the purpose of a convention or council of the Church, though without legislative powers, and was the first effort to bring together the clergy and laity for mutual counsel.
A summary of results as given by Mr. Breck on October 6th, 1851, is as follows: Fifteen mission stations served by the clergy of St. Paul Mission; three church edifices; seventy-five communicants in all; and fourteen Sunday Schools. A school for boys had been begun on the Mission premises, and a lot had been secured adjoining the church, with the intention of building another schoolhouse for girls.
"Our first service for the Norwegians in Minnesota," Mr. Breck wrote, "was had in Christ Church, St. Paul, on yesterday, the day after Christmas . These sheep in the wilderness are beginning to emigrate into these parts, and we cannot but be deeply interested in their welfare."
The primary object of Mr. Breck in coming to St. Paul had been missionary work, and the training of young men for the ministry. To this, as we have seen, he added educational work for both sexes. In a conference between Bishop Kemper and the Associate Mission, at his visitation in 1851, the bishop gave his consent for them to go on as they had begun. They were to hold services, build churches, establish schools, and train men for the ministry. After further deliberation, this permission was restricted to the preparation of candidates for Holy Orders; but their theological education must be sought elsewhere .
This new arrangement was a great disappointment to Mr. Breck, and led him to look for a field where he could carry out his plans. At this juncture the condition of the Indian field was laid before him by Father Gear. The time was opportune. The several Protestant churches had withdrawn from the Ojibway field, one by one, and Mr. Breck decided to undertake work among them. After visiting the Indian country and making due preparation, the mission to the Ojibways was inaugurated on Ascension Day, 1852.
Mr. Breck retained charge of Christ Church until July 26th, 1852, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson. The 'latter, however, in accepting the rectorship, did so with the express condition that he should devote one half his time to the outside field.
The labors of Mr. Wilcoxson extended up the valley of the St. Croix, up the Minnesota valley as far as Mankato, and down the Mississippi to Red Wing. For a time he was the only missionary in the white field, until the coming of the Rev. J. S. Chamberlain to St. Anthony in October, 1852, who added to this the region west and north of the Falls. Mr. Wilcoxson remained in charge of Christ Church until July 25th, 1854.
Soon after this he was succeeded by the Rev. John Visger Van Ingen, D.D., who came from Rochester, N. Y., as head of the Minnesota Mission, and who for more than seven years was prominent in church matters in the Territory and new State. The property acquired by Mr. Breck in St. Paul was deeded to Dr. Van Ingen, and was held by him in trust for the Church until the organization of the Minnesota Church Foundation Society. Although he took an active interest in the growth of the Church outside of St. Paul, organizing the parish of St. Paul's Church at Winona, and visiting other points, yet his labors were mostly confined to Christ Church, which now became separate from the rest of the field. The Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson removed to Hastings, which became the center of an extensive itinerant work.
In 1856 St. Paul's Church in the city of St. Paul, of which the Rev. Andrew Bell Paterson was the first and for many years the esteemed rector, was organized as an offshoot from Christ Church.
The removal of Mr. Breck to the Indian country was practically the close of the St. Paul Mission, so far as the special object was concerned which had brought him to the Territory. This, aside from the general missionary or church work in this unoccupied field, was theological education. It was his purpose to establish an institution similar to Nashotah in Wisconsin, With this in view he had acquired the ground now held in trust by the Minnesota Church Foundation. The missionary work and the educational revolved around this central idea. This idea was never abandoned by Mr. Breck; and had it not been that the property was occupied in 1857, it is pretty certain that the system of schools in Faribault would have been located on these grounds in St. Paul. In this connection we quote from the diary of the Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson, under date of July 27th, 1852.
Within the last few days, I have been consulted with reference to taking charge of the parish of Christ Church in this place. At first I gave but little encouragement that I would accept, if elected,--feeling bound to pursue the itinerancy during- the three years for which I was pledged. I gave them to understand that I would in no case propose to give up the itinerancy, as that might seem like a shrinking from duty. I said, however, that if all parties concerned should concur, I might be induced to accept the rectorship. Such was the case. Brother Breck arrived from the Indian mission at Gull lake on the 22d; a meeting of the Vestry was held last evening, and I was elected rector. Under the circumstances I felt bound to accept. The people having been disappointed again and again were becoming disheartened. . . . I do not wish a city parish, as this seems destined to be. Still, the departure of Brother Breck to Gull lake, the absence of Brother Merrick on account of his health, and the difficulty of getting anyone else to take the parish, all unite to make the path of duty plain. For the present I am to spend one half of my time at the other stations.
The ceding of the country west of the Mississippi, which took place July 23rd, 1851, opened the valley of the Minnesota to settlement. Having the advantage of steamboat navigation, this region was accessible to the pioneer much earlier than the parts away from the river. Shakopee and Traverse des Sioux were interesting as Indian villages, as trading posts, and as the seats of Presbyterian missions to the Indians. The first house was built in Mankato in 1852. In the spring of 1853 there was a single dwelling on Arrow prairie, where Le Sueur now stands. In 1854, Captain Dodd built a house on the townsite of St. Peter. Along the Mississippi in this state, below St. Paul, not a town has a history prior to 1852, unless the Swiss mission at Red Wing or the Presbyterian mission there and at Kaposia claim that prestige.
The importance of Shakopee, then a rival of Stillwater, attracted early attention. The spiritual care of this growing young village, the home of old Shokpay, belonged in the first instance to the St. Paul mission. In June, 1853, the Rev. E. A. Green-leaf returned to the Territory and took charge of the work here. May 17th, 1854, Bishop Kemper visited Shakopee, and laid the corner stone of St. Peter's Church, the second church of this communion erected on the west of the Mississippi, the Indian church of St. Columba at Gull lake having been the first. The Rev. Mr. Greenleaf continued in charge until November 29th of this year, when he retired, the spiritual care of this church and of the entire Minnesota valley being assigned by the bishop to the Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson. The church at Shakopee was opened for divine service August 26th, 1855.
During the summer of 1852 Mr. Breck made occasional visits to St. Paul and officiated in Christ Church. Indeed, the work for the red men was regarded as one department of the St. Paul mission, which continued to retain the name of "Associate Mission." But the growing needs of the Indian work absorbed the greater part of the contributions, and the separation practically grew more and more complete. The arrival of the Rev. J. S. Chamberlain, son-in-law of Bishop Chase of Illinois, to take charge of St. Anthony and the region to the west and north, relieved the stress of this part of the field, so that Christ Church and the valley of the St. Croix alone were embraced in the cure of Mr. Wilcoxson.
In 1854, the Rev. Dr. J. V. Van Ingen came to Minnesota as the head or president of the St. Paul mission, including the rectorship of Christ Church. Accordingly, Mr. Breck deeded to him the property in St. Paul which he himself had held in trust for church purposes, to which reference has already been made. Dr. Van Ingen arrived late in September, and entered at once upon his duties. Under dates of November 51)1 and 6th, 1854, Mr. Wilcoxson wrote: "Sunday, officiated with the Bishop [Kemper] and Rev. J. V. Van Ingen. . . . Monday, Nov. 6th, was nominated by the Bishop as itinerant for Minnesota."
Mr. Wilcoxson at once entered upon his duties with his usual zeal. After visiting Stillwater he set put on his first journey up the Minnesota. The close of a cold blustering day in November found him at Stevens' mill, opposite St. Anthony. The next clay lie reached the log cabin of Mr. Judd, with its welcome hospitality, at Chanhassan. On the following Lord's Dav he officiated there and at Shakopce. The next day he walked to Le Sueur, stopping by the way at Judge Chatficld's, now Belle Plaine. At Le Sueur he found a single communicant, Mrs. Peck, who had arrived the year before. Traverse des Sioux was the next point reached, interesting as the place where the Dakotas signed the treaty of 1851, by which they relinquished their title to the lands west of the Mississippi.
At St. Peter, Captain Dodd had lately brought from the East as his bride, a devoted church woman, who had been n member of the Church of the Holy Cummunion in New York City. Here he held service, at which fourteen were present, the second service of the Prayer Book there.
Returning, he preached to some forty or fifty at Traverse, a village of promise then, but now only of promising farm harvests. His first service at Le Sueur was held on the 23d of February, 1855.
The first service of Mr. Wilcoxson at Carver was on New Year's day, 1855. About thirty were present at this service, which was held at the hotel. Thirteen Swedes and Norwegians received the Communion, "they using the Lord's Prayer and Confession, the Psalms and Hymns in their own language, and receiving an explanation of the Communion office and some practical instruction through one of their own number who understood our language." About this time he wrote:
In all the places I have mentioned, communicants and persons attached to the Church are to be found.--in some, one or two communicants; in others, ten or twelve.
Stillwater has a population of about 1,000. The number of communicants connected with this parish is nine or ten. There is a church edifice completed and fully paid for. Shakopee, although of not more than two years' growth, has a population of 500. The frame of a church has been erected at this place. The building is inclosed and nearly enough is secured to finish it. There is the promising settlement of Chanhassan, numbering twelve or fifteen communicants. At Hastings I have heard of four or five communicants.
Early in 1855 he visited Hastings, a place of some ten or twelve houses, and held his first service on Sunday morning, January 7th.
A second journey up the Minnesota was made early in 1855, during which he officiated eleven times in nine days, administering the Lord's Supper once, and baptizing a child. During this part of his itinerancy he resided in St. Paul as the most central point for his work.
Early in May, 1855, he removed to Hastings, which was rapidly growing and was for many years the market for a large region of country extending as far as to Albert Lea and Blue Earth City, including Faribault and the intervening territory. The same month he was relieved of the care of Stillwater by the coming of the Rev. J. A. Russell. He continued his visits to the country of the lower Minnesota valley during the summer; but in November, 1855, the Rev. E. Steele Peake became itinerant missionary in this valley, and resident pastor of the church at Shakopee. Mr. Wilcoxson continued to reside at Hastings until failing health compelled him to give up his work.
During the first seven months of this itinerancy he had walked nearly two thousand miles, and may be called the pioneer missionary of this church to the white population. In company with Bishop Kemper, he held the first Prayer Book service at Mankato on May 18th, 1855. The same year Mr. Wilcoxson held the first service of his church at Faribault, June 3d, at which he baptized the daughter of Mr. Crump. In 1857, in company with Bishop Kemper, he made a journey into the interior as far as to Bancroft, a townsite not far from Albert Lea, where now only herds graze or harvests wave. There is something romantic in a visit involving a journey of some two hundred miles, going and returning, in the interest of the Church, quite as much as in the first known visit of a distinguished civilian in search of buffalo a little earlier in a neighboring county. Probably no missionary in our branch of the Church ever walked more miles, unless we except the Rev. J. Lloyd Breck. Mr. Wilcoxson also held the first service of the Episcopal Church at Red Wing.
The coming of the Rev. Dr. Van Ingen to take charge of the parish of Christ Church, St. Paul, and also to be the head of the Minnesota Mission, marks the close of the period which this paper is intended to cover. For the circumstances which led to his acceptance of this work we would refer to his "Memoir." For the first time in its history, Christ Church had a pastor who could devote his entire time and strength to the parish..
The several missions already begun were now cared for by others. In 1855, at the date of the Convocation of November 1st, Dr. Van Ingen was in charge of the single parish of Christ Church in St. Paul; the Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson was the rector of St. Luke's in Hastings, and was itinerant missionary of all the territory adjacent, wherever a settlement had been begun; the Rev. J. A. Russell had taken charge of Stillwatet; at St. Anthony Falls the Rev. J. S. Chamberlain was rector of Holy Trinity on the east side, including the settlements around lake Minnetonka, with the village of Minneapolis, and all that country along the Mississippi as far as Sauk Rapids; the Rev. J. Lloyd Breck was missionary to the Ojibways at Gull lake, beyond the present city of Brainerd; the Rev. Solon W. Manney was chaplain at Fort Ripley, and the Rev. E.G. Gear was chaplain at Fort Snelling; while the Rev. E. Steele Peake was resident missionary at Shakopee, and in charge of the villages springing up along the Minnesota river.
To these pioneer clergy the Episcopal Church in Minnesota owes very much. They were men of strong convictions, beloved and esteemed in their day for their work's sake; and upon the foundations wisely laid by these men our first Bishop, as a wise master builder, reared the superstructure.