Pamunkey River

Pamunkey River
The Pamunkey River in 1864

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Accident on Old Forge Pond- 1869

        Fatal Accident-Man Drowned.
-A few days since a party of five workmen started from Mr. Pearson's farm in New Kent county, to go to their homes. There were among them four white men and one colored man. When they got to Providence Forge mill-pond they were compelled to take a small boat with which to cross. They had proceeded half-way across the pond when suddenly the boat capsized from some cause that cannot be explained. The men were all thrown out, and all, with the exception of one named Phillips, gained a tree in the middle of the pond. Phillips sank immediately after he was thrown into the water, and was seen no more. Strange to say, he was the only man in the party who could swim, and his companions cannot account for the manner of his drowning. The men who succeeded in getting to the tree remained there during nearly the entire night crying for help, which was rendered them early the next morning. Phillips' body had not been found at last accounts. He was an honest, hard-working man, and left a small family.

-The Daily Dispatch, 23 July 1869

The Gilmer map of 1863 above shows the residence of E. C. Person just to the west of the "Forge Mill Stream"(Rumley Marsh).

Monday, May 23, 2016

St. Peter's Church during the Civil War: Rev. Henry S. Kepler

    Death of Rev. H.S. Kepler.-
Rev. H.S. Kepler, a well-known clergyman of the Episcopal Church of this diocese, died at his residence, on Seventh Street north of  Leigh street, yesterday at noon. Mr. Kepler was born in Maryland on the 8th of January, 1807, and in 1848 accepted a call to St. John's church in this city, in which field he labored until 1860. 
Mr. Kepler's family emigrated to America from Germany in 1784, his grandfather being an officer of prominence in the German army. The father of Mrs. Kepler, Dr. Grafton Duiany Harrison, was a descendant of an old English family of distinction, and related to the well-known family of Addison, of this city. 
Mr. Kepler's pastorate at St. John's was I attended with marked results for good. He labored in that venerable parish until 1858, when he resigned to become an evangelist  for the diocese, owing to the infirm health of Bishops Meade and Johns. He continued until in this important work until 1860 the breaking out of the war. During the war, opportunity offered, be officiated in the  parish of st. Peter's, in the county of New Kent, where General Lee frequently attended divine service. Subsequently he spent much of his time in building up the Episcopal church in Manchester and at Hicksford, on the Weldon and Petersburg railroad. When a minister was regularly established at Hicksford he undertook the  building up of the church at Ashland, in  which work he was very successful. Not satisfied with this good work, he went back to St. Peter's in New Kent, where he again endeared himself to the people, and soon built up a flourishing congregation. Resigning the charge in New Kent, he went to St.Mary's church, near Tuckahoe, in Henrico county, and it was owing to the faithful and laborious work in that church at Christmas of last year that the illness which terminated his long and useful life was brought on. There is not a church in Richmond where he was not well known and dearly loved, and throughout the diocese he was honored and respected. 
In the death of Rev. Mr. Kepler the Episcopal Church loses one of its most pious, able, and most zealous clergymen, and Christianity one of its brightest exemplars. Scrupulously modest and unobtrusive in his manner, gentle as a woman and yet as firm as adamant in defence of the right, he made during his long, useful, and honorable life a host not only of warm admirers but loving friends. The life of such a man is not only valuable as a guide and example to those whom, sorrowing, he leaves behind but his triumphant death, with all his burdens cast upon the Lord, the most convincing argument that could be made on behalf of that cause in which the vigor of his youth, the strength of his manhood, and even the feebleness and decrepitude of his old age had been spent, Whenever his services have been called into requisition, no matter in what field he was called upon to labor, he carried to that labor earnestness, zeal, a Christian walk, and an abundance of Christian love. With him the work of the church was a labor of love, and not until bodily infirmities prevented did he cease from laboring. He had passed the allotted three score-and-ten, and in the winter of life he could look back over the great ocean of the past without regret. Faithfully had he performed his share in every sphere of duty in which he had been called to officiate. 
The funeral will take place at 4 o'clock this afternoon from St. James church. 

-Richmond Dispatch, October 6, 1880

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

St. Peter's Church during the Civil War: Documents- 1869

March 31.(1869)- Preached in St. Peter's, New Kent, Rev. Mr. Kepler rector. 
It was truly sad to see the condition of this venerable old building desecrated and despoiled by soldiers. The expenditure of a few hundred dollars, could that amount be raised, would restore it so as to protect it from the weather, and make it a comfortable place of worship for its impoverished congregation. 

-from Bishop Whittle's Address at Seventy-Fourth Annual Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia


Post-office Richmond.

Having prepared the way in some measure at Manchester for a settled minister, it gave me great pleasure to resign the mission into the hands of the Rev. Mr. Hammond in July, and I at once took charge of the church of St. James the Less at Ashland and of St. Peter's, New Kent alternating services between them. No services had been held at St. Peter's Church since the beginning of the second year of the war, when all that region of country was occupied by the union army. The old church was the very picture of desolation, and the few remaining communicants, of which I could find but three, had scarcely dared to indulge the hope of seeing it re-opened and regular services established in that day. We have collected a small amount outside of the parish which has enabled us to refit it with new window sash and stove, and to make such other repairs as were necessary to make it habitable. The congregation for the present is small, but a little aid and nursing care, with the blessing of God may tend to preserve it and prepare the way for future prosperity. We hope soon to effect an arrangement for its permanent supply, by uniting it with two other churches in an adjoining county.
At Ashland we have no church edifice of our own, and the congregation at present is not able to build, Our services are conducted semi-monthly in the village church. We have here an encouraging Sunday school and a growing congregation. At the late visit of Bishop Whittle, 9 were confirmed and added to the communion. There were 20 communicants at Ashland, mostly young persons when I took charge of it; 3 have removed and 11 have been added, making the present number 28. Baptized 12 infants, white; married 1, colored. Collection at Ashland for Education Society of Virginia, $10 25. 
Missionary, &c

-Journal of the Seventy-Fourth Annual Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia held in St. Pauls's Church, Richmond, on the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th May, 1869.
Richmond 1869

Sunday, May 15, 2016

St. Peter's Church during the Civil War: Documents

St. Peters Church, Va. McIlvaine. 1862- Library of Congress

                 NEW KENT COUNTY

                 St. Peter's and St. James Churches St. Peter's Parish.
            Rev. H.S. Kepler, Rector.

Baptisms- Infants, white, 4. Communicants- Added, 1; total, 23 
Funerals- White, 1; colored, 2; total, 3. Contributions- Tracts for soldiers, $4.50; Diocesan Missions, 40; total, 14.50. 
Remarks- I was invited to this Parish in September last. It is now in the hands of the enemy, and its members are fugitives from their homes. Its invasion prevented the usual contribution to the Convention fund.

-Journal of the Sixty-Seventh Annual Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia held in St. Paul's Church, Richmond, on the 20th, 21st and 22nd May, 1862.
Richmond 1862

                    NEW KENT COUNTY 

           St. Peter's and St James Churches St. Peter's Parish. 
     Rev. H.S. Kepler, Rector. 

This Parish has suffered greatly from the late invasion of the enemy. Since his expulsion regular semi-monthly services have been held at St. James, but it has been found impracticable to open St. Peter's. Nearly all the parishioners fled at the approach of the enemy, and are still exile from their desolated homes.
During the invasion, found an ample field of usefulness in the military hospitals in and around Richmond, and in this field I have continued during the year. I have also performed missionary duty two Sundays in the month at St. David's Church, King William County, and at Louisa Court-House. 
Communicants- St. Peter's, 3; St James, 2; total 5. 
St. David's, 7; Louisa Court-House, 4; total 11. 

-Journal of the Sixty-Eighth Annual Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia held in St. Paul's Church, Richmond, on the 20th, 21st and 22nd May, 1863.
Richmond 1863

Monday, May 9, 2016

More Roads

 advertisement from a 1909 issue of Good Roads magazine

                                   Machine and Team Bought for Pushing the Work.
                                               [Special to The Times-Dispatch]

ROXBURY, VA., July 11.-The Board of Supervisors of New Kent met at the courthouse Tuesday. All four of the road overseers for the county recently appointed tendered their resignations, and these were accepted. One overseer was appointed to take charge of the whole county. Six fine mules have been purchased. with a new road machine, wagons and all implements, at a cost of $2,500. This is a costly experiment, and all hope to see good roads.
A representative of the Peninsula Improvement Company was present looking to the proposed moving of the courthouse to Boulevard. The idea seems to be growing in favor.
The July term of Circuit Court will be held the fourth Tuesday. Many civil cases will be disposed of at this term. There are no criminal cases.

-The Times-Dispatch, 12 July 1908

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Portrait of New Kent's State Supreme Court Justice . . . Literally

Unknown Artist

A portrait of Judge Benjamin Watkins Lacy, a former member of the court, was yesterday presented to the court by Isaac Diggs, for a long time a partner of the jurist. The presentation was made at the request of the family.

-Richmond Times-Dispatch, 17 Nov. 1916