Centennial History (1870—1970)



"A Short History of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 
Brighton, Maryland"

by Deborah Iddings Willson and Elizabeth Iddings Cook;  written in 1970

This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. Luke's Church, which was built here in 1870. As a religious "community", however, our history goes back more than a century before that, when some seventy members of the Church of England drew up and signed the following document in May 1761:

To His Excellency Horatio Sharpe Esq. Governor and Commander-in-Chief, in and over the Province of Maryland, and to the Honorables, the Upper and Lower Houses of Assembly, at this time convened.

The petition of the Vestry and inhabitants of Prince George Parish[l] in Frederick and Prince George Counties humbly sheweth,- That the parishioners residing in and upon the neighborhood of a Branch of Patuxent, commonly called Hawlings River, are in the greatest want of a Chapel of Ease.

This Petition therefore most humbly prayeth that His Excellency and the Honorables, the Upper and Lower Houses of Assembly would be graciously pleased to act to empower Commissioners of Frederick and Prince George Counties to levy upon the taxable inhabitants of Prince George Parish such sum of money as to their Honors it may appear sufficient for erecting a new Chapel to be located upon or near the Branch of Patuxent commonly called Hawlings River, and to His Excellency and their Honors, petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray.

Signed by order of the Vestry, May 1761 pr Simon Nichols Regr.[2]

The petition was granted and the Chapel of Ease was built in 1761 where our present parish hall stands, now the northwest corner of Brookeville-Brighton Dam Road and Route 650, New Hampshire Avenue Extended, Brighton, Maryland. The chapel was destroyed a few years later by a severe storm and it was "deemed inexpedient" to rebuild on the same spot. That this chapel was the ancestor of our present church is apparent from the list of the original petitioners, from whom many of the founding members of St. Luke's Church were directly descended.

Not until 1812 was a new church built some miles from the site of the original chapel, on the Hawlings River on land purchased for $25 from Margaret Brooke. (The location was approximately where the Unity - Laytonsville Road, Highway 420, now crosses the Hawlings River, or about six miles northwest of St. Luke's present site.) It was consecrated by Bishop James Kemp, the second Bishop of Maryland, as St. Bartholomew's Church (commonly called the "Hawlings River Church") and formally admitted to the Diocese of Maryland as a separate congregation. At a meeting of a number of parishioners of St. Bartholomew's Parish a vestry for the said Parish was elected on Easter Monday, 1812.

The new church was ministered to by the rector of Christ Church in Rockville, and naturally, because of the distance and his other duties, services were not very regular. In those days transportation was slow (by horseback or horse drawn vehicles) and the geographical size of St. Bartholomew's Parish was too great for one church to serve the whole membership. By 1842 the Episcopalians living around Mechanicsville (now Olney) found regular attendance at either St. Bartholomew's or Christ Church practically impossible. Consequently in 1842 a chapel was founded at Olney as St. John's Church, and the Rev. Orlando Hutton was elected in 1844 as the first Rector of St. Bartholomew's Parish to hold services in St. John's and St. Bartholomew's Churches. A house was purchased at Brookeville, about halfway between the two churches, for a rectory and Mr. Hutton served as rector of both until 1861.

The register of St. Luke's Church contains an account of its establishment in 1870, written by the fifth Rector of St. Bartholomew's Parish, the Rev. Thomas Duncan. It may be interesting to note here that the founding of a third church in this one parish created a rather unusual organizational situation. Ordinarily, a congregation and parish are co-extensive; but St. Bartholomew's Parish includes three separate congregations, each with its own vestry and financial independence. Moreover, this is still true now that each church has its own rector. Following is the Rev. Thomas Duncan's sketch of the beginning of St. Luke's Church:

"In July 1868 I received a communication from Mr. Heckrotte, through A.B. Davis, asking if I could not hold a service in Howard County, near or at Friendship Meeting house, as there were various members of the church near that point who desired the services of the Episcopal Church.

"I accordingly made arrangements to hold the service and gave notice that I would preach at the Friendship Church (permission having been given by those in authority), on August 30th, 1868.

"Services were held there until the close of November, when owing to the dilapidated condition of the building, which could not be heated, they were suspended.

"In the following April (1869) an invitation was kindly given by the Orthodox Friends to occupy their place of worship, was accepted and services were held for several Sundays.

"Neither of these points proving to be central and accessible to those who wished to attend the services, the appointment was changed to Crowtown, about half a mile from Brighton. Here large congregations assembled under the oaks in the open air.

"In October the cold forbade outdoor services, but the Sunday School was organized in the Public School house nearby and was superintended by Mr. Samuel Janney.

"Two lots were now offered on which to build a church-- one by Mr. William C. Gartrell and the other by Mr. William Brown of J.[3] As the latter was the more central to the congregation it was accepted, it being within a few rods of the old Hawlings River Chapel [sic] aforementioned.[4]

"A subscription to raise money and means to build a church was immediately commenced.

"Liberal contributions were made by Mr. Hanson Brown, Mrs. Parker, Mess. William Brown Sr. and Jr., Mr. Elisha John Hall, Mr. Thomas John Holland, Miss Sarah Agnes Kummer of Baltimore, the Miss Hollands, Mr. Carr, Mrs. George Nesbitt and many others, while many of the neighbors aided in putting up the building.

"The first service in the new building was held April 24th, 1870.

"The congregation was too large to be accommodated by the edifice and as this continued Mr. Charles Abert undertook to raise money to enlarge it and with the aid of others he succeeded.

"The building was lengthened twelve feet, which made it 42 feet long by twenty feet wide and capable of seating 150 persons.

"The first confirmation was held April 18th, 1871 by Bishop Pinkney [the Rt. Rev. William Pinkney, at that time the new coadjutor of Maryland] officiating, when nine persons were admitted to the church.

"Another confirmation took place November 18th, 1871 when four persons were admitted to the church.

"The congregation was organized in accordance with the Canons of the church and a vestry[5] was elected in the early part of 1872 and was admitted to union with the convention under the title of `St. Luke's Church' in 1872.

"It should have been mentioned that the pulpit and chancel railing and also a part of the pews were given by St. John's Church as also a collection from that church and St. Bartholomew's.

"A communion service was purchased through the contributions and efforts of Mrs. Charles Abert. The friends of the church in and around Brookeville gave through the aid of Mr. Orlando Hutton a concert and raised money to purchase an organ."

*  *  *  *  * 

A more intimate account of the building of St. Luke's is given in the following reminiscences written in 1963 by Fanny Peirce Iddings, one of the original parishioners, at the age of ninety-six:

"The present St. Luke's Church was built in 1870. The ground was given by William Brown and money and labor were furnished by the early members. The church was planned by the first rector, Thomas Duncan, and was a very plain little building. A visitor to the neighborhood who had known him in his youth remarked that it looked `just like Tom Duncan'. The recessed chancel and the stained glass window were added in 1916 and the bell and belfry much later after World War II.

"Some open air services with the congregation seated on planks that had been furnished as lumber were held during the summer that the church was being built. I was too small to attend these, but have heard others of my family speak of them. My first recollections of the church services are of sitting with my mother in very nearly the same seat that I now occupy. Mother had a very sweet voice and I loved to hear her sing. The first words in the service that I remember were, `Not only with our lips but in our lives', and I thought, that means to be good and not to talk about it. I do not remember anything about Mr. Duncan's sermons, only that I liked him personally very much. He was with us for several years and was a very lovable person. He had a wife and several small sons, three I think. His successor was Dr. Richard Mason, only here for about two years. I think he and his wife were rather elderly people and either had no children, or perhaps their family was grown up and scattered.

"The rectory at Brookeville was overflowing with children during the twenty years that William Laird was with us. The oldest was six when the family moved in and there were eleven in all, with the youngest only two when Mrs. Laird died. The oldest daughter kept house for her father and mothered the younger children until Mr. Laird died in 1896. He was a very scholarly man and his sermons were sometimes over the heads of his congregation. His delivery was poor, so that the sermons, which were often published in `The Southern Churchman' seemed to mean more there than when you heard him preach. He never used a short word when he could use a long one. When my husband and I were married, and he had pronounced us man and wife, he did not `wish us happiness', but said `Permit me to felicitate you'. I felt much gratified when he told me that he was sorry to lose a `valued friend and an exemplary parishioner'. We lived in Virginia for a short time and then returned to the house where I was born, so I can say that I have attended the same church continually all my long life.

"The early members of the church as I recall them were the Janneys, the Chandlees, Caroline Kummer, Sophia Peirce and her two daughters (of whom I was one), the Browns (who made up a large part of the congregation), the Nicholsons, the Leishears, the Hollands, the Gartrells, the Spurriers, Lizzy Harvey, Frances Ayers and old Mrs. Botts. The Brown family was represented by three brothers Hanson, William of J. and Frederick and their families, and an older William who lived to be 94, and his two sons Marshall and Washington and their sons.

"There was a Sunday School with a good attendance connected with the church from the very first. Caroline L. Kummer was the organist for all the church services as well as for the school, where she was superintendent. She was well fitted for both of these posts through her training in music and her knowledge of the Bible. She taught a class of the oldest pupils, sometimes both boys and girls, but most of the time she had the boys and some other teacher the girls. I remember best Miss Ruth Howell (a governess in the neighborhood) and how much I liked her when I was in her class. Mr. and Mrs. Hanson Brown both had classes of younger children, and Miss Lizzy Harvey, who lived with them, taught the smallest children.

"Caroline Kummer continued to play the organ and run the Sunday School until she was over seventy, when she had to give it up on account of failing eyesight. She usually walked to church and Sunday school, which were generally one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, and neither rain nor snow nor bad roads could stop her. I am sure she had as great an influence on the young people as any of the early rectors. I remember one of her old scholars saying at the time of her death, `Miss Carrie was the best person I have ever known.' After an operation for cataract she was again able to attend church, but could not take her old place at the organ.

"After several years, when either Abel or Luvie Brown carried on, Sally Myers, was organist for a great many years. Bea Wilson played next for several years and since then Eloise Gartrell has served faithfully up to the present."

*  *  *  *  * 

20th Century History

With the building of St. Luke's Church, the Parish now had three churches to serve its people, but only one priest to serve three churches. It was a little like a setting hen with too many eggs to keep warm. Various schedules were tried in the effort to hold as many services as possible in each church, but the most feasible proved to be a weekly service at St. John's with bi-weekly services alternating between St. Luke's and St. Bartholomew's. At one time St. Luke's had only afternoon services, but eventually a way was found to alternate morning and afternoon services with St. Bartholomew's.

From the time of Mr. Orlando Hutton's service as rector in 1845 until that of the Rev. Charles Lafferty, the rectory of St. Bartholomew's Parish was at Brookeville. In 1911 it burned, taking with it most of the records of births, deaths, marriages, baptisms and confirmations. Mr. and Mrs. Lafferty were attending a guild meeting at the home of Mrs. Isobel B. Jones when a breathless small boy rushed into the meeting announcing, "The Laffertys' house is on fire!" The trip home by horse and buggy through deep spring mud must have been a harrowing one. The Laffertys did not arrive until after books, records and most of their worldly goods had been destroyed, but they found their four small children safe.

Olney was chosen as the logical place to build the new rectory, and St. Luke's contributed $283.33 besides 1000 feet of lumber, all the sand and the hauling of both sand and stone. Added to this $17.78 rent while the rectory was being built, $15 toward the furnace, and feed for the rector's horse for the rest of the year. As contributions go in the year 1970 that sounds like very little, but we must remember that around 1911 the treasurer had great difficulty collecting the $145.00 yearly portion of the rector's salary.

By 1941 roads and automobile transportation had so improved as to enable the rector to hold two services in the morning and a third in the afternoon. After many joint vestry meetings, in 1948 it was agreed that St. John's and St. Luke's could support a rector between them, St. John's to carry 60 of the expenses and St. Luke's 40, with St. Bartholomew's making other connections. A short time later St. Bartholomew's was united with Ascension Church of Gaithersburg to share its rector. This was a practical arrangement geographically, inasmuch as in 1919 St. Bartholomew's had moved from the Hawlings River to Laytonsville (even using the materials from the Hawlings River Church, of which no trace was left).

The first rector under this new arrangement was the Rev. James Valliant, who came to us in 1949. Although his service to the two churches was in keeping with his name, the rapid growth of St. John's made ever-increasing demands on his time so that St. Luke's depended more and more on visiting clergymen and on the services of lay readers, of whom Clarke Slade was our first and outstanding in his devotion. Eventually the Bishop of Washington cast about for a way to provide for St. Luke's, and in 1960 decided that we should build a rectory and call our own minister. There followed the payment to St. Luke's for its share of the rectory at St. John's and other financial adjustments too complicated to go into here, except to say that St. John's generously agreed to contribute $1500 annually toward the salary of St. Luke's rector for the years 1963, 1964 and 1965.

Just as William Brown of J. gave the land for the St. Luke's church building in 1870, so the Warren Cooley family, now owners of the original Brown place, gave the land for the new rectory in 1961. The methods of raising building funds for a country church are probably fairly uniform. The remarkable feature of St. Luke's performance is that so small a congregation, apparently not over-organized, accomplished so much in about two years. In 1963 our first rector, the Rev. Edwin S. Tomlinson, was installed, and he and his family moved into the new brick home. He served from 1963 to 1966 and was followed by the Rev. Robert D. Herzog, April 1967 to October 1968. Our current rector, the Rev. Frederick G. Bohme, being unmarried and what is called a "worker priest", does not occupy the rectory, which is therefore being used for church school classes and as a parish hall.

Until now our parish hall has been the building east of the church on the site where the Chapel of Ease stood in 1761. The present building was erected as the Grange Hall and dedicated on September 15, 1886.[6] It was bought by St. Luke's in 1935 at a tax sale for $284.82. This was part of a $500 legacy which Mrs. Florence Brown Ridgely, daughter of William Brown of J., left for that purpose. The hall was in very poor condition and the Guild went to work to raise money for repairs. The balance of Mrs. Ridgely's bequest went into paint for the exterior and a new roof. Members of the Walter Wilson family contributed a new floor for the kitchen and the covered fire escape. The Guild's contribution of $500 helped toward digging a well and providing toilet facilities and proper sewage disposal. As soon as the building was usable, it became a sort of "operation bootstrap", affording a place to hold dances, suppers, dog shows and card parties, and for the past ten years the Junior Guild's highly successful annual Candle Festival. The women of the church, headed by the indefatigable Anne Ball Gilpin, started catering for neighborhood clubs which met there and in homes of the members. Now, after forty-nine years of service as a Grange Hall and thirty-five years as the Parish Hall, the old building is rarely opened.

In passing, perhaps it should be explained that the reference to the Guild and the Junior Guild is more a matter of terminology than of fact. The St. Luke's Guild was founded in 1910 for the express purpose of keeping the property of St. Luke's in repair and improving it as much as possible. It performed effectively for some forty years, and even after the younger women of the church organised what they called the Junior Guild in 1959. As the experience and efficiency of the latter group increased and the numbers and activity of the original Guild decreased, the older organization was absorbed by the Junior Guild, so that once more there is one Guild at St. Luke's despite the confusing name.

As recounted earlier, there has always been a Sunday School at St. Luke's. Caroline Kummer was the first superintendent and taught for many years, until in her seventies she passed her teaching duties on to her niece, Fanny Iddings. In 1935 Guy Wood became superintendent of the Sunday School and served until his death in 1957. Caroline Kricker Hussman remembers wistfully her days in Sunday School and junior choir under Mr. Wood, whose favorite hymn was No. 304, "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy". Since Caroline's childish ear heard "wildness" for "wideness", this seemed especially appropriate because she remembered him as wildly enthusiastic and vibrant, passing out lifesavers to the youngsters in the choir, leading the singing with sweeping gestures, and finding many ways to capture the attention of young people. Mr. Wood came to Sunday School in fair weather or foul, often wearing hip boots to wade a stream at the end of his long lane when it was too high to ford.

In 1937 it is noted that the Sunday School of from 35 to 73 students in the summer was closed from Christmas to Easter. This was the usual arrangement for some years. Many summer boarders came to the neighborhood during the vacation months, and their children attended Sunday School. On the other hand, winter with a cold church and bad roads made for poor attendance. So the usual vacation was reversed and the school closed in winter. There was a series of superintendents and teachers who are now among us, many still active in the work. Until 1955, classes met in the church before the morning service; then the removal to the parish hall enlarged the available space so that the school could be divided into six classes, from kindergarten through high school, with a potential student body of fifty children. For over 25 years they contributed to the John Milton Society for the Blind. They made a "mite box" offering to the Episcopal Church, gave candlelight services and pageants at Christmas time, and participated in various local charities with occasional assistance from the Junior Guild. In 1947 the Vestry donated the first scholarship to the summer Diocesan Youth Conference at Shrinemont.

The Young People's Fellowship was organized by the Rev. Arthur Ribble, and, after the two churches separated, the Rev. Edwin Tomlinson was very active throughout his term of service at St. Luke's. The Y.P.F. met regularly and had many field trips and fund-raising projects. An exchange with the youth group of Morristown, N.J., afforded our young people an opportunity to see the sights of New York, and the Morristown youngsters were given a tour of Washington. Various trips were made to interesting places such as Annapolis and the U.S. Naval Academy, etc.

Naturally these gatherings did not always go exactly as planned. Once, when about to serve the promised refreshments to a visiting musical youth group in the parish hall, the hostess discovered deep paw prints and nibbled corners in the large, delicately frosted sheet cake she had provided. However, since the food was protected by a napkin, and when the intruder turned out not to be a rat but a stray kitten someone had let in, the cake was eaten with relish after all.

Not so easily laughed off was the slip made when the oldest Sunday School class members were being given a tour through the Cathedral. As a special treat they were led behind the scenes among the pipes of the great organ, and it was then that one of the boys accidentally dropped on the stone walk something he had concealed under his jacket. The crash of shattering glass together with a strong odor of whiskey was apparently not heard nor smelled by anyone else, so of course there never was anything to investigate.

One Christmas pageant almost set fire to the parish hall in an attempt at verisimilitude for the three Wise Men (Barry, Harry and Gary) [Trexler, Musgrove and Weakley, that is]. An incense burner was borrowed from the Roman Catholic church. When the frankincense was ignited, flames shot up and created a near riot in the frantic activity of smothering them. Even when the danger of flames was past, a pungent smell of smoke rather than incense accompanied the Wise Men into the church.

Thanks to the musical gifts and dedicated interest of Caroline Kummer, St. Luke's has from the beginning had music for church services and for Sunday School, although we find no reference to a trained or vested choir until about 1950.

Mrs. William Hines, Jr. and our organist, Mrs. Gartrell, had worked with the choir for several years, and in 1968 we had our first, and so far only, paid professional choir director, Mrs. Janet Schlesinger, who did an excellent job for a year before personal demands on her time forced her to give up the work. Under her tutelage the Junior Choir made gratifying progress, made several field trips, and took part in the Mite Box Presentation at the Cathedral and at St. John's when it was done by Convocation.

The original organ was purchased with money obtained by a concert given by the friends of the Church in and around Brookeville. It was foot-pumped and served well until about 1920 when a second foot-pump instrument was purchased with money raised by subscription by the congregation. After some thirty years of use, this second reed organ needed repair and the vestry appointed a committee to consider replacing it. In 1950 a new electric organ was installed and the old organ was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Williams for $25.00. Although the present organ cost over $1,000 and is of an excellent make, more than $90 was spent on repairs and adjustments the first four years of its operation and complaints have appeared in the vestry minutes irregularly ever since.

The problem of heating a church is always vital. The development of our heating system would fill a chapter of our history and the end is not yet. To begin with, there was a wood-burning stove that held a stick of cordwood.[7] When fired up long enough beforehand, this forced anyone sitting near it to move to the back pew. When the wind blew from a certain quarter, the smoke came straight down the chimney and the congregation went home. The vestry had the chimney built higher. It still smoked. The cap was changed, but it still smoked. Then, in 1940 came the new oil burner. When the wind blew at the old angle, the congregation was not only smoked out but gassed out as well. In 1951 a revolving top was installed on the chimney, to no avail. In 1954 more pipe was added to the top; the wind blew it off and the chimney continued to smoke. Finally, in 1956 the Suburban Gas Company agreed to exchange the church heater for a used 75 B.t.u. gas heater and to install a 50 B.t.u. heater in the parish hall at a cost of approximately $275 to $300. The new heater being equipped with a fan, the old chimney was taken down. Now our minister must strain to raise his voice above the noise of the fan only to find himself shouting into silence when it suddenly cuts off. But at least there is no more going home when the wind blows.

Newcomers to St. Luke's must wonder about the diminutive cemetery in the churchyard. There are eight tombstones commemorating three Browns, two Andersons and five Leishears, the latest interment being that of Harry S. Brown in 1932. The desirability of enlarging the cemetery was discussed as early as 1926, and a committee was appointed to investigate. For the next few years this committee was mentioned occasionally, but it seemed to be completely dormant until 1947, when enlargement was again suggested, but no decision reached. At last the question was settled in 1960 when the building of our rectory was authorized. The vestry ruled that "inasmuch as a rectory is to be built, no more burials will be permitted in the adjacent lot."

The facts and figures of the history and growth of St. Luke's are to be found in the register and vestry minutes.[8] Although these are merely a listing of the dates of service of some of the early members as vestrymen, treasurers and registers, it is a tale of real heroism.[9] Today more humane rules prevail and a vestryman serves for three years and may not immediately succeed himself. Thus he has at least a break in his years of service. But consider the following: Hanson Brown served as vestryman and treasurer for eighteen years; Fred Brown fourteen years. William Brown of J. served thirty one years; Elisha John Hall, one of the first vestrymen, served continuously until his death in 1893; William Iddings, vestryman and treasurer for fourteen years; George Myers was treasurer for twenty-two years; John Hall Janney served as register for thirty years. He declined re-election in 1901, but was still writing ninutes the following year. On January 4, 1909, appears the following entry:

We find a shortage of $11.46 on the Rector's salary and $7.84 on other church expenses. In the 16 years that your Register has served this Vestry he cannot remember one meeting where the accounts of this Church balance. They have always been behind. During that time the Diocesan Missionary Society has given $2400 to keep this church going and to try to make it self sustaining. Is it making any progress? /s/ John H. Janney.

If the tone is plaintive, it should be readily forgiven when we consider that many of these deficits were made up out of Mr. Janney's own pocket.

To cover the bare bones of historical facts and dates, we should pay tribute to those who gave so much of themselves to the building of St. Luke's. Ministers have come and gone, leaving some little, some much of themselves and their influence on the neighborhood;[10] but more lasting has been the faith and love of the community itself. This is especially true of those of the past generation who had their roots deep in the surrounding hills and valleys of Montgomery County.

The names that appear in that first list of petitioners for a Chapel of Ease and then over and over again in the early church register deserve honorable mention. Even before the women were given the right to serve on the vestry in 1923, the feminine side of the families of Janney, Nesbitt, Hall, Hutton, Brown, Gartrell, Clark, Holland, Leishear, Myers, Kummer, Peirce and Chandlee were most important when it came to teaching in the Sunday School, seeing that the men attended vestry meetings, and filling in the financial gaps when there was need of paint for the rectory, repairs to the church roof, carpet on the floor, or new prayer books and hymnals. A few names ought to be especially written in very clear print for their faithful and dedicated service over three or more generations. William Brown of J., donor of the ground on which the church was built; Mr. and Mrs. Hanson Brown, Everett and Lavinia Brown, Florence Brown Ridgely, James W. Brown; the Gartrell family, with Eloise especially remembered. The Myers--Mr. and Mrs. George and their most faithful and efficient daughter Sallie; the Janney and Hutton families, always the backbone of the congregation; Mrs. Catherine Hall Janney, her son John, long-time Register, and daughter Mary Janney Hutton, without whom it seemed impossible for the church to survive; Sallie Randolph Janney, whose gentle presence still seems to hold a place in Sunday School and Morning Service. We could name every member of the Janney and Hutton families for some definite contribution to all the congregation; Caroline Kummer, whose musical and teaching ability influenced a whole generation; Thomas John Holland and William Iddings, who between them were treasurers for over forty years; Henry Clark, another faithful attendant and treasurer from 1935 to 1942; the Peirces, Sophia, Alice and Fanny, for long, faithful attendance and true loyalty; the Leishears, Thomas and Frances, and their descendants unto the fifth generation, the fifth being the grand children of Mary Leishear Warfield and her husband Merhle, a faithful member of the vestry; Guy Wood, ever a conscientious member of the choir and director of the Sunday School for twenty-two years; the work of Anne Ball Gilpin, always ready to take on one more job and carry it through with energy and resourcefulness, is carried on by her descendants, the Fones family; also the work of Mrs. McNutt Kricker and her daughter's family, the Hussmans; the Carr family; the Hottle-Childs family; the Hines, Senior and Junior families, dependable, substantial, never-failing workers and contributors; the Walter Wilsons--what would St. Luke's have done if they had not moved into our community?

The above listing is not to minimize the value of members who have joined the congregation within the past ten years or so, bringing in new blood and vitality without which St. Luke's could not survive. It is fervently hoped that they too will continue to work with us unto the third and fourth generation.

Also to be noted are the three members of our parish who went forth to serve the Church in a larger field: St. Luke's vestry proudly signed the certificate required under Canon VIII Sec. IV for the ordination of Samuel Janney Hutton in 1924; two of our rectors served as chaplains in the armed forces--the Rev. Henry R. Marsden in World War I, and the Rev. Arthur Ribble in World War II.

Mr. Ribble wrote in 1942: "The congregation of St. Luke's Church is about as little organized and about as efficient as any in the Church. They have little regard for budgets, organizations and such things. They consider their work as a family affair. They just pay their bills when they come due and get together and do whatever work there is to do."

This is still largely true today and it is this very quality that endears St. Luke's to many of its members, especially now when life sometimes seems over-organized. An interesting evidence of the feeling of the members of our congregation is the pilgrimage of the Leishear family on Mother's Day over a period of many years. After Thomas and Frances Leishear died, their nine children along with in-laws and grandchildren would come to that early May service from their scattered homes and diverse churches to join in the communion service--a real tribute to St. Luke's Church as well as to their parents who had loved it and brought them here as children.

It is doubtful that the old saying, "the first hundred years is the hardest", can be applied to St. Luke's. Of course it has had its struggles with the normal differences of opinion and occasional painful friction without which no closely knit group of human beings can operate for long. But so far there has been enough of the spiritual strength of love and faith to hold our community together. The home atmosphere has been a real inspiration even though the stove smoked, the organ squeaked and perhaps the minister was human enough not always to conform to everyone's idea of personal or liturgical propriety. Nothing worthwhile ever reaches the point where we can coast at ease. Our second century opens before us with new and ever more perplexing problems that call for faith, love and intelligence. It is not enough merely to stand firm; we have to learn to combine firmness with flexibility for growth. This St. Luke's congregation is making an honest effort to do, no matter how we may long for a "chapel of ease".


1. Prince George['s] Parish was established in 1726 and included part of Prince George's County, what is now the District of Columbia and the whole of Montgomery and Frederick Counties. T.H.S. Boyd, The History of Montgomery County, 1879, p. 74. The first minister was appointed in 1775--Alexander Williamson, who was described in records furnished by the Rev. Dr. Nelson Rightmyer, Historiographer of the Diocese of Maryland, as "a whig, devoted Christian but indifferent preacher". The parish still exists, but its boundaries are now (1970) those of Christ Church, Rockville, Montgomery County.

2. For a list of the 71 signers of this petition see the Register of St. Luke's Church.

3. William Brown [son] of James [Brown], who signed himself "William Brown of J".

4. This obviously refers to the Chapel of Ease, since the Hawlings River Church was six or more miles from this spot.

5. The first vestry of St. Luke's, elected in 1872, consisted of:

Elisha John Hall (Secretary 1872-6) 
Hanson Brown (Treasurer 1872-9) 
James F. Lansdale
Hugh Townsend
Samuel A. Janney
William Brown of J. 
William C. Gartrell

6. Annals of Sandy Spring, Vol. II, p. 86 (1902).

7. This is a country expression derived from the measurement of a cord of wood, which was a pile 4 ft. wide by 4 ft. high by 8 ft. long, and means that the stove could accommodate a piece of wood 4 ft. long. Of course it required several pieces to make a good fire.

8. An alphabetical list of vestrymen from 1870 to 1970 is appended to the old register of St. Luke's.

9. Senior Wardens from 1870 to 1970:

1874 - Frederick Brown 16 years
1890 - Samuel A. Janney 6 years
1896 - William I. Brown 7 years
1903 - William Everett Brown 30 years
1933 - William A. Iddings 5 years
1938 - Robert Myers 3 years
1941 - Guy Wood 4 years
1943 - William J. Hines, Sr. 3 years (alt. with Guy Wood 'til 1947) 
1948 - Ulric 0. Hutton 3 years
1951 - Guy Wood 4 years
1955 - William J. Hines, Sr. 1 years
1956 - Harry Musgrove, Jr. 2 years
1958 - Buel Weare 1 year
1962 - James Austin 3 years
1965 - Robert Tupper 3 years
1968 - Vernon Hussman

10. Rectors: During the first years after its organization, St. Bartholomew's Parish was administered by the Rector of Prince George's Parish. When the work grew too heavy for one man, St. Bartholomew's Parish called a rector of its own. Since that time, the following men have been rectors of St. Bartholomew's Parish:

The Rev. Orlando Hutton 1845 - 1861
The Rev. B. F. Brown 1862 - 1866
The Rev. Peter Tinsley 1866 - 1867
The Rev. James Poindexter 1867 - 1868
The Rev. Thomas Duncan 1868 - 1875
The Rev. R. R. Mason 1875 - 1876
The Rev. William H. Laird 1877 - 1896
The Rev. Peter M. Boyden 1897 - 1907
The Rev. Charles D. Lafferty 1909 - 1912
The Rev. Henry H. Marsden 1913 - 1917
The Rev. Franklin J. Bohanan 1917 - 1920
The Rev. Guy E. Kagey 1921 - 1928
The Rev. Philip A. Dales 1928 - 1929
The Rev. Thomas F. Opie 1931 - 1940
The Rev. Arthur LeB. Ribble 1941 - 1948[*] 
The Rev. James Valliant 1949 - 1970
The Rev. Edwin S. Tomlinson 1963 - 1966
The Rev. Robert D. Herzog 1967 - 1968
The Rev. Frederick G. Bohme 1969
* Up to this point the Rectors of St. Bartholomew's Parish were responsible for three separate congregations - St. Bartholomew's, St. John's (since 1842), and St. Luke's (1870 to 1963).