Our Missionary interest after a while began to attract extra-parochial attention, and in October, 1908, when the Church had enlarged her missionary machinery sufficiently to establish Eight "Departments," thus covering the entire U. S. A. with organization, I was elected by the first Synod of our "Fifth Department" to be the "Department secretary" of the General Board of Missions in that wonderful territory. This included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Marie at once seconded my instinct to accept this election. She saw that we both together could do more for "missions" thus, for a while, than by staying in parish work, even at The Church of The Epiphany.
Among the chief facts which impelled us to accept this election was the undeveloped field of the "Home Base" in this great Province. Here we were assured were to be found twelve dioceses, with 120,000 communicants, giving $2,000,000 a year for all Church purposes, and yet giving only $61,000 a year for the support in whole or in part of the 1,530 missionaries of all kinds then looking to the General Board of Missions for their stipends. These missionary workers were scattered throughout twenty-six districts at home and abroad. Surely these 120,000 communicants, who thought enough of their religion to raise $2,000,000 a year for some expression of its organized life, could be led to give more than an average of one cent a week apiece to support the chief work for which the Church is organized, namely, the conversion of the world to our God and Saviour Jesus Christ! To tell some of them the story of the need and the opportunity, as well as of the beginning already made, might well enlist our efforts for a while, since we were asked to devote our time to this labor of love. Of course Marie was not elected to any office (the more's the pity), but anyone who knew either of us knew also what a power and an inspiration she could be to anybody near her who was so elected. So we decided that I should accept. And Marie said that she would go with me, and would do what she might find possible. She found a great deal possible, and she did it all with her wonted ability and thoroughness.
The election came in October, but it was not until the Feast of the Purification, February 2d, which came in 1909 on a Monday, that we started forth on this new and untried path through our truly astonishing "Province"--as the General Convention afterwards decided to call it, in conformity with all ancient usage and also with the modern custom of the entire Anglican communion.
It was no slight task to change from parish life to this life of constant travel. Our good people of Epiphany parish did not at all like to have us make the change. Some of them took the position that it was no promotion at all, and that if I had been elected Bishop somewhere it would have been far better. We felt that, no matter what was involved, we were glad to devote some time to building up the "Home Base," since we could not think it wise, all things considered, to leave our parish work for any part of the strictly mission field, at home or abroad. The sacrifices which missionaries eagerly made and never mentioned had had little or no parallel in our comfortable though very busy parochial experience, and we both hailed whatever adjustment was involved in this new office, to which I had so unexpectedly been elected by the clergy and laity of our Province at their first Synodical meeting.
There were several things involved. There was a drop of $1,500 a year in salary, and our living expenses in rent, life insurance, etc., were just the same as always. The General Board of Missions paid me $3,000 a year, with only $1,000 allowance for all expenses of travel, secretaryship, hotels, and the like. We felt that we ought to keep up our apartment at York street and Ashland Boulevard, though our itineraries for the first several months allowed us only two or three days at home each month. Marie promptly said that she would accompany me as long as her strength held out, and this was joyous news for me, for it made it a partnership, and banished loneliness for both of us. The good women of the Chicago Diocesan Auxiliary shared our appreciation of the rare opportunity thus provided, and by a "valentine" gift to Marie they raised a large part of her railroad fares and other incidental expenses.
Part of my decision to accept this election came from the conviction that my work at Epiphany Church was about done. The constant drain of "Suburbanitis" was slowly sapping the growth of the parish. I would work with all my might, for a year; would present 80 or even 100 for confirmation; would find from 75 to 125 other communicants who had moved into our large territory during a year (this involved unceasing effort in calling, of course) and the result would be a net decrease in our enrolled list of communicants. At the close of my first five-year period, we numbered 1,267 in good standing. At the close of my Rectorship, on January 31, 1909, we numbered 1,116. I had presented about 800 for confirmation during my nearly ten years in the parish, and I left nearly 250 more communicants than I had found in April, 1899, when I took office. Yet I felt that a new Rector would do better than I could do, and, though I would not have dreamed of giving up the work unless I had been called to something else, when this election came, it seemed by far the better plan to accept.
It involved giving up 95 per cent of my preaching topics, for there are 100 themes each year for sermons in parish life, and there were only four or five sermons on "Missions" that could be used "on the road." It involved giving up my Altar, for I rarely Celebrated away from home.
It involved on Marie's part, eventually, the most poignant surrender of her life, for after some months of travel she felt that she ought to resign from the presidency of the Chicago Diocesan Woman's Auxiliary, where she had served so remarkably for nine consecutive years, and with such notable success. She dearly loved this work and often said that "the Auxiliary was the only child she ever owned." She devoted to it all the love and care and joy and ceaseless attention that motherhood lavishes upon children. And she felt, after trying it out, that she could not travel with me and care for the Auxiliary as it deserved. I did not feel as she did about this, but her convictions, of course, carried the day, and at Grace Church, Chicago, in May, 1910, after presiding for the last time at her splendid annual meeting, with hundreds of her devoted friends in attendance, she read her resignation, and immediately left the church, her eyes brimming with tears.
She was adamant, in the months and years that followed, about refusing to take any position that might embarrass her successor. She declined the invitation to be a vice-president of the diocesan branch. She did not attend the monthly meetings of the parochial branches to any great extent. She felt that the new president ought to have free rein, and she knew that the courtesy which obtains among Christian ladies would impel her successor to defer to her again and again, were she at hand officially or even personally. What this isolation cost her no one ever knew, for she rarely mentioned it even to me, and then only casually. Her great strength of character was shown in this very wise but taxing decision. Of course it was now and then misunderstood. People sometimes inferred that she had lost her interest in the Auxiliary. That was about as sensible a comment as one which would accuse a mother of losing interest in her daughter because she would not live with her after her marriage.
A few years after this painful resignation, I urged Marie to resume some diocesan activity connected with the Auxiliary. She finally consented, and for a year or more was diocesan vice-president in charge of the South Side branches. A pulse of new vigor at once began to throb through the twenty-five or so branches of the South Side (this was during our nearly nineteen years at The Church of The Redeemer), and Marie enjoyed the partial resumption of her one-time work, as she visited the local groups and arranged "sectional conferences," as she used to call them, some of which were held, with large attendance, in our own parish house. All the same, her important connection with the Auxiliary ceased that afternoon when she fled from Grace Church, Chicago, to hide her tears. She never flinched or wavered when anything was seen to be her duty. And it seemed to her that her duty lay with me, traveling around the twelve dioceses, large and small, of our "Fifth Province," deepening interest and raising money for the mighty cause of General Missions.
Had either of us known that this new experiment, which was simply the hurriedly concocted project of a General Convention's imperfect leadership, would not last more than two years, she might not have resigned her diocesan presidency. In that event our life at The Church of The Redeemer would have lacked the wonderful stimulus which she gave to it by taking hold of the organized work among the women, and by leading the parish house and afterwards the new Rectory into the brilliant life of hospitality which she so successfully managed, year after year. Of that, more later on in these memoirs. As it was, however, she felt that she could not do both kinds of work effectively, and as our life of travel opened new and beckoning opportunities for pushing Auxiliary enterprises, she shook off the whole plan of busy and delightful activity which had been her steady enthusiasm for nine remarkable years. And when she bade it "good-bye" she never allowed the weakness of "looking back" to dominate her for one instant, whether she "remembered Lot's wife" or not. There was something truly Napoleonic in that fine and determined attitude. It seemed to me truly wonderful, as I saw it from our home angle.
Our Epiphany friends were really grieved at our decision to enter this untried and roving life. They had developed some warm missionary spirit, in our ten years together, but not enough, as a parish, to glow with any pleasure at the high ideals of widening the "Home Base" for the greatest work of the Church. Before we left there was a Vestry-party at the beautiful home of our dear friends, the Senior Warden and his wife, and there was a very touching set of "Resolutions" which the Vestry drew up and signed, and which one of them brought to our apartment on our return from our first month's travel in the diocese of Ohio. The women's groups gave Marie some beautiful gifts, as expressions of their undoubted affection. The choir gave me a fine silk cassock (the pinnacle of clerical luxury, so far forth). The "Epiphany Guild" gave me a very beautiful gold watch, an Elgin, which has kept perfect time for all of the twenty-four years that have since elapsed.
In our last number of The Epiphany--our parish paper--the edition of January, 1909, I summarized in a few statistics the outlines of our ten (or nearly ten) years of work together as People and Rector.
There were 662 baptisms (213 "Of Riper Years"); 809 candidates had been confirmed; there had been 308 marriages and 364 burials. The total amount of money raised for all purposes was about $170,000, of which about $25,000 had been given to extra-parochial purposes, diocesan and missionary.
The parish's list of communicants in good standing had risen from 865 in 1899 to 1,116 in 1908. At the outset of our term it stood fifth in the diocese, being exceeded then by Grace, St. James's, Trinity, and St. Peter's. When we left it practically shared the second place with Grace, Oak Park--we reporting 1,116 and they, 1,120--and was exceeded only by St. Peter's, Chicago. During the decade we had once reached 1,267 communicants as has been stated above. This gain of about 250 was reached by the addition of the 809 candidates confirmed, and 991 other communicants who had moved into the parish and had been discovered by unremitting parochial visiting. To offset this gain of about 1,800 names there had been a loss of 1,550 by death, transfer, removal, or otherwise.
The property of the parish had been improved by the installation of a $4,000 heating plant, and by other improvements aggregating some thousands of dollars in cost. The endowment fund had been raised from $5,000 to over $11,000 in cash and pledges. The floating debt of $7,300 which we found had been paid off. The old funded debt of $5,300 on the old Rectory on Ashland Boulevard still remained, awaiting the sale of the building, some fine day.
During these nearly ten years I had made and received over 17,000 calls; had mailed 20,000 letters; had delivered over 4,500 sermons, addresses, and instructions. During seven years I had no Assistant, and for over eight years no secretary. The Easter Communions had increased from 593 in 1900 to nearly 800. The services had increased from 425 in 1900 to 839 in 1909, of which 255 were Celebrations of the Holy Communion. The organizations of the parish had increased from 20 in 1899, to 35 in 1908. The property was left in first class condition, and was fully insured.
So we started out on our travels. I afterwards learned that it was this decade of work, coupled with my election, which won me a place in Who's Who in America. My two honorary degrees were also received during this decade in 1906. We have already spoken of the "valentine" which the Auxiliary women gave to Marie to help in her traveling expenses. It was a generous gift, and it also was a great help to us both, as we faced the unknown budget of our new life.
And so, after instructing a confirmation class for some weeks, and presenting the class on my last Sunday evening as Rector, so that the parish should report some candidates for that diocesan year, no matter when the new Rector might arrive, and after all the other preparations for an entire month of travel in Ohio during February, we put on our best clothes, packed our four grips, bought our tickets for Lima, Ohio, and started out early on Monday morning, February 2d, the Feast of the Purification, 1909, to reach the Twelfth street station in time for an early morning train. Thus began nearly two years of one of the most varied, interesting, and useful periods of our entire life and work together for our Lord and His Church.
There were almost no precedents. We had not had time for much careful preparation, in the whirling weeks which followed my election, but it was clear to us both that the first thing to do was to visit as many congregations as possible, in each of the twelve dioceses, to meet the interested women in the afternoons or mornings, and to preach a missionary sermon in the evenings, with an offering for general missions, and to leave what literature we could as we departed. This, we knew, was only scratching the surface of the problem, but it was certainly the first step.
So we asked Bishop Leonard of Ohio to have his Archdeacon make out an itinerary for us, sending us to the parishes and missions which he knew should first be visited in this way. This the good man did, most thoroughly. We further asked, without the slightest abatement of the need, that we might please be entertained, for the allowance of only $1,000 for travel, board, and office expenses would not allow us to go to hotels unless it was absolutely necessary. It would be well nigh impossible for me to state adequately the amount of generous and cordial hospitality which was promptly extended to us everywhere.
Rectories, and the homes of Wardens and Vestrymen and other parishioners were freely opened to us, as we wound our way around this vast district. Homes with many rooms and ten domestics; homes where the head of the house and his toiling wife slept on the floor and insisted on having us occupy their room; homes where we found so many children that we soon learned to accommodate the family by dispensing with the bath-room in the mornings. Marie would take her bath before going to bed the night before, and I became expert in bathing and shaving with the help of a glass tumbler filled with water! We always left our room just as tidy as we found it, making the bed and gathering up any litter. We usually sat up for a while after returning from our evening services, and chatted with the family and any guests that might come in. I am free to say that the physical effort thus involved was at times as much of a drain upon us as the making of the addresses and preaching of the sermons, though it was always enjoyable, and very helpful to us both.
I kept a little red book with the names of all the leading people whom we met in each town, village, or city, and I also kept the mileage record of our many journeys. I also entered the amount of the offerings, for one of my nightmares was the fear that we could not raise, from these offerings, enough fresh money for "missions" to offset the $4,000 a year which my salary and expenses cost the General Board of Missions. I am thankful to say that in neither year did we fail to raise more money than I cost, so that nightmare was needless--as most nightmares are!
Marie entered into all this utterly new experience with the utmost zest. She willingly shared the many economies which my limited allowance demanded, and she bravely carried her two grips, weighing from 35 to 40 pounds, while I struggled with the two larger ones, weighing from 65 to 70 pounds, as we walked from trains to our abiding places, or clambered into street cars when necessary. On our very first morning we encountered a wrathy and abusive street car conductor, who railed at us lustily, in the face of a crowded car filled with factory hands on their way to work. I bit my lips and "held my peace though it was pain and grief to me," for I was determined not to begin our travels by a "row" with a street car conductor. He simply could not coordinate Marie's Persian Lamb furs and my good overcoat with four grips and a street car. He said frankly that we ought to take a cab. When he cooled down enough to listen I gently told him of our uncertain budget and new enterprise, and when, two years or less later, we were coming into Chicago late one night and ran across his car, he instantly recognized us, and shouted "Hullo, Grips! Come right in! Plenty of room!" He probably was concerned for some time after that memorable tongue-lashing that he gave us, lest I should report him, which, of course, I might have done, but didn't.
Probably our most exhausting day of "grip-toting" was at the very end of our first five months' travel, in late June, when we were in Western Michigan. We rose early, after a poor night's rest, and after a very poor breakfast at a boarding house we had to walk one mile to the railroad station, carrying our grips. We had to sit down several times along the road, to rest, as we took this walk. We had to change cars, grips and all, more than once, during the early part of the day. We arrived at noon at one city where we had an afternoon meeting, in a beautiful garden, both of us making addresses. Then on we went, taking another train, after long waiting at a junction, and finally we reached our destination at midnight, the last three hours having been spent in a crowded train, filled with Chicago people who had fled from the city to spend Sunday at a bathing beach resort! For this was on a Saturday, after a month's continuous travel.
Marie at once composed a most admirable set of afternoon addresses, which she usually gave in some parish house, or in someone's home, to a group of women, some of whom could not come to the evening service. I always preached at this evening service, and I soon found that the message I had to deliver occupied about 45 minutes when I had the time. I had a Sunday morning or evening edition of it which was condensed into thirty minutes. Marie soon learned these sermons by heart, for I found that it was by far the better plan to give the same message everywhere. And her reputation for long-distance endurance might well have been placed on record in missionary archives, for she heard me give this sermon nearly 335 times! And she would greet me at the close of these evenings with a reminder that "You left out two 'ands' and three 'buts' this evening," or some such good-natured comment on my imperfections! How she stood it I cannot imagine, but she did, and never flinched for a moment!
One evening we went directly from the train to the service, and I stored the four grips under her pew in the church. During the midst of my sermon the alarm clock went off, with stentorian clamor! She at once grasped the situation, and looked around demurely, with raised eyebrows, to see who it was that had imported an alarm clock into a missionary service! No one ever knew whose clock it was. I am afraid that there were more than two "ands" and three "buts" that were omitted from my message that evening.
Marie at once became the repository of confidences from distressed parishioners, as we journeyed over the Province. She calmed more than one malcontent, and cheered many a discouraged guild officer. She gave her beautiful addresses just as earnestly and vividly when there were six women present in some forlorn mission, as when she had a roomful in some large parish house. And she took her trick at dish-washing more than once, when we were entertained by some over-worked and underpaid parish Priest and his wife, none of whose parishioners were willing to entertain anybody connected with "missions." What it meant to me to have her wonderful companionship along this trail words can never express. We chummed it together as on a great picnic-time, and she always made the best of every experience and opportunity.
More than once she organized a new branch of the Woman's Auxiliary, having received from diocesan officers the request so to do when possible. Mrs. Leonard, the wife of the Bishop of Ohio, was so deeply grateful to her for her work in that diocese, that she gave Marie a most wonderful quilt, the work of one of her finest guilds.
Time and space forbid that I should go into many particulars, as these two vivid years come to mind. They were not quite two years, unless we begin to count in November, 1898, soon after my election. This it may be fair to do, as the correspondence and plans began at once, though, as I have stated above, we did not actually start out until February 2, 1909. We first took a month in the diocese of Ohio as I have said. This is the northern half of that great State. The outstanding events of that opening month centered naturally in Cleveland, where we were the guests of Dean and Mrs. Frank DuMoulin, formerly of St. Peter's, Chicago. Dean DuMoulin and I maintained our very real friendship all through the many years which followed our common entrance into Chicago in 1899. When he became Bishop this still continued, and when he resigned his Episcopal work and once more joined us Rectors, it was stronger than ever. He and his charming wife visited us at "Westerly," for a few hours, during Marie's final illness, in the summer of 1932, this being, of course, long after the death of his first wife, who entertained us so kindly at the Deanery in Cleveland when we were "on the road."
One evening Bishop and Mrs. Leonard made a delightful dinner for us at the Episcopal Residence, with several guests, and another evening in Cleveland there was a remarkable gathering of some 400 men at the Cathedral parish house, for dinner and addresses. Dr. John W. Wood of the Church Missions House shared with myself the main addresses. Years afterwards Bishop DuMoulin said that this was an epoch-making meeting of Ohio Churchmen, so far as interest in missions is concerned. It was the largest gathering of Churchmen that I addressed during these two years. At that time the Cleveland Cathedral was giving over $3,000 a year to General Missions, this being the largest single offering from the 800 parishes and missions in the Province. It was somewhat surpassed in later years, when our own Redeemer parish in Chicago gave about $9,000 a year to the National Council's work and another $9,000 a year to diocesan missions in Chicago. Other parishes, in those later times, did also much generous giving to the Church's greatest work, the Cleveland Cathedral, doing as always its full share.
Our itineraries took us into all of the twelve dioceses of the Province, as the busy months of travel came on apace. Each one had its unique characteristics. I am not giving them in the order in which we traveled through them, going to their chief congregations first, but before we ceased we had taken journeys pretty well over the whole territory, reaching as far north as Ashland, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior, and as far south as Anna, Illinois, in the diocese of Springfield. We thus covered some 60,000 miles, and visited at least once some 335 congregations, going to about fifty of them from twice to a half-dozen times. Most of our journeys were of course by rail, but we soon became quite familiar with the trolley systems in many of the dioceses, especially in Indiana, and we had some automobile and some horse-and-buggy experiences which are worthy of mention. Also we crossed Lake Michigan twice on the big boats, on one trip.
In the diocese of Springfield we had a colorful visit to the soft-coal mines, afterwards the scenes of so much industrial strife and even bloodshed, though quiet enough during our stay. Marie was much impressed with the plight of some Englishwomen who had come recently from Durham in England, to accompany their husbands, these being coal miners by profession. There was a "lay-off" during our visit, and yet these good people came out to service in their poor, bleak "Town Hall," and some of them insisted that Marie and I should be their supper guests in their little home instead of staying for that meal at the shabby and not very clean hotel in the village. The Bishop protested against my bringing Marie along on this part of our journeys, but she insisted on going, and she put up with the unattractive conditions without the slightest hesitation. She afterwards gave a very appealing and effective address on this whole visit to the diocese of Springfield, enlightening the people in Chicago and other large cities of the Province concerning the state of the coal miners and their families in that part of Illinois.
One experience we had on this particular trip was memorable. We were in a small town, a county seat, and our services were held in the court house. A fearful storm came up about 9 p.m., and the poor little hotel where we stopped Was so shaken by the gale and stormed at by the torrential rain that our room was drenched. Most of the other guests dressed and huddled together in the hotel office, fearful lest the whole building should collapse. Right around the corner was the wretched little county jail, and we could hear the terrified prisoners shouting and screaming above the roar of the hurricane. When we appeared at breakfast, and turned out to be the only people who had not been scared into dressing at 3 a.m. or so, our stock rose several points. All the same it was a frightful night. Several people in Chicago, perhaps 300 miles north of us, were killed by the storm. This whole trip to the southern part of the diocese of Springfield was a very interesting one. It brought us, and later, many of our hearers, into new contacts with the missionary needs of our own Province.
It is difficult to say which of the twelve dioceses of this very remarkable territory was the most interesting. No two were alike. The three in Illinois, viz., Chicago, Quincy, and Springfield, were each different from the others. Northern Indiana was not like "Indianapolis," as the southern diocese was named in that State. Southern Ohio, with its old river-towns along the great Ohio, was vastly different from "Ohio," with its great Cleveland and its enormous industries along Lake Erie. Michigan has three dioceses, the eastern section centering around Detroit and the automobile industry, and running up into the burnt-over lumber districts, while "Western Michigan" radiates from Grand Rapids, and the furniture industry, and abounds also with fruit farms. And "Marquette," the "Michigan peninsula," is filled with copper mines, as well as some lumber camps, and is quite unlike the other two dioceses. Wisconsin had two dioceses in our time, but now has three. The diocese of "Milwaukee" then covered three-quarters of the great State, and was shaped like a big letter "L," while the diocese of "Fond du Lac" occupied the northeastern quarter and also ran up to Lake Superior.
Incessant travel on our part brought us into all of these large dioceses, and we gave our missionary message as best we could to all kinds of congregations, big and little, rich and poor. A careful estimate of the offerings showed a general increase of about 80 per cent at the close of our second year. Of course this was not entirely due to our efforts, but we had some share in this achievement.
Our mail was handled in a rather unique way. We returned to our Chicago apartment about every thirty days, to repack, and to get a little rest. I would then buy as many large manila envelopes as the towns or cities which we were to visit on our next trip. I would address each one of these to myself, care of General Delivery, at each town, and I would direct the Chicago postal-clerk please to put into the proper envelope all of the first-class mail for either of us every day, mailing it to me at the close of the day. I advanced the duplicate postage, and thus I got our mail daily. I answered it as best I could, wherever we might be.
One day, in Coldwater, Michigan, we could not find our big envelope. It disconcerted us sadly, for there were some changes in appointments that were pending. Finally, at the end of the disappointing afternoon, a boy from the Post Office rushed into the Rectory with the lost envelope. It had been mixed up with the mail of "Sis Hopkins," the actress, who, with her troupe, was barnstorming the town that same evening!
The local papers sometimes made a good deal of our visit. Marie especially interested the reporters. One morning a young girl interviewed me about the addresses we planned for the afternoon and evening, and I wrote out the headlines for her, writing after my own name the initials "D. D." Imagine our amusement when the paper came out with words about "the Rev. John Henry Hopkins, O. O."! My blind handwriting has often led me into trouble.
We usually lunched from a paper bag, on the train, our menu being apples and crackers. "Social Tea wafers" were our favorites, made by the National Biscuit Company, of which our old St. Joseph friend and Senior Warden, John D. Richardson, was vice-president. Marie had a fondness for red apples also. We were usually so heartily supplied with breakfast and dinner menus, as our generous hostesses welcomed us "along the road," that we were glad to ease up a little on luncheons.
All the same, the wear and tear of travel, with the lack of exercise and the constant change of diet, finally broke down Marie's digestion, and one day in Ohio we had to cancel our other dates, and return to Chicago. Then we started for Vermont, and I left Marie for six weeks with her parents at "96" Colchester Avenue, in beautiful Burlington, while I returned to the Province to wander around our itinerary alone. This was the only time in our entire married life that we were separated from each other for even twenty-four hours, and it was the only time that we wrote letters to each other during all of the nearly forty-three years of our companionship. It was a hard wrench for us both, and when it closed, and I was able to bring her back to the "Fifth Department," as our Province was then called, it was a time of rejoicing for me indeed.
The General Convention of 1910 was held during our missionary travels. I was elected one of the deputies from Chicago. The Convention met at Cincinnati in October, and we stayed at a second-class hotel during its sessions. Marie had some opportunities in the Auxiliary meetings, but I found out that the new office which I held was something so new that it had little or no standing or leverage. The other "Department secretaries" also made a similar discovery.
We had not been encouraged very much by our second round of visits in the Province. It was clear to me that this new office was only an experiment, and that it was really not worth while, as a permanency. So we cast about to find some possible opening for the resumption of our chosen life-work, that of a parish Priest and his wife.