Did You Know…. St. Mary’s History

Weekly Reflection, Sunday, August 25, 2019

By: Elizabeth Starling

What first attracted me to St. Mary’s was our beautiful churchyard and all of the history I knew must be buried there. Maybe that’s a strange first thought, but with a background in archaeology and museum studies, I just can’t myself! Fast forward two and a half wonderful years of working here, and David May asks each staff member to come up with a summer project to work on. I’m not sure he knew what he was getting himself into!

My project has been researching St. Mary’s rich history in preparation for a paneled exhibition to open in the Dover Lounge this winter.

Did you know that…

-the land on which St. Mary’s sits was donated by the Wickham family of nearby Woodside, specifically by Littleton Wickham, great grandson of Attorney John Wickham who served as lead counsel for Aaron Burr during his 1807 trial for treason?

-the money for construction of the church was raised by the Allen family, of nearby Tuckahoe Plantation, in memory of their daughter Mary who died as an infant?

-the majority of the numbered graves in the churchyard are original congregation members—mostly coal miners and farmers—and that St. Mary’s saw them through the most joyous of times (births, returning from war, baptisms) to the most trying of times (loss of children, tragic accidents, murder)?

-one little girl numbered each of the graves, and that she too is buried in our churchyard?

-our churchyard is the final resting place of several Confederate soldiers, including a prisoner of war and a deserter?

And there’s so much more! My research adventure continues through the Fall, and I look forward to sharing more with you. In the meantime, if you have a favorite memory of St. Mary’s or any memorabilia you’d be willing to share, please give me a call at the church office. I’d love to hear from you!