History & Cemetery

A History of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Lappans

[The following narrative is an excerpt from “The Story of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church” written by Ann “Fritzi” McKinley Bushong and first printed by the Church in 1974].

“Abraham Lincoln, a young lawyer, had just stumped Illinois for the national and state Whig ticket….The Congress was considering such questions as the new state of California, slavery in the territories of Utah and New Mexico, and was embroiled in bitter debate on the slavery question itself….It was 1848, and Dr. James Thomas Notley Maddox had just moved from St. Mary’s County, Maryland to a 200 acre farm near Jones (now Lappans) Crossroads, in Washington County. He had bought the land from the old Tilghman estate, and here the thirty-eight year old physician-farmer and his bride of two years were to live the remainder of their lives. Busy though he was with his new new responsibilities…this good and visionary man immediately set about attending to his religious duties. At his instigation, the Rev. R. H. Clarkson, then living at the College of St. James, held services on October 8, 1848, at a stone schoolhouse near Fairplay….The attendance…was so encouraging that it was decided to build a church….Dr. Maddox offered an acre of land for the purpose….After the contract was signed, it was decided that a gallery was needed (for slaves), and it was agreed to pay $50 extra for this and appropriate benches….Bishop Whittingham laid the cornerstone in April, and on the 25th day of July in 1849 he consecrated the completed building….Forty-one people contributed to the building of St. Mark’s, giving a total of $1577.50….The cost of the completed building was $1385.

….According to the records there were ten communicants in 1849….In the fall of [1862] the peaceful country-side was shaken by the roar of cannons, the marching of soldiers, and the rumbling of artillery pieces. The Civil War had begun the year before, and now two great armies were preparing to clash in what was to be the bloodiest engagement of the war, the battle of Antietam, not six mile from St. Mark’s….[After the battle] Dr. Maddox came to the church with his spring wagon and removed the wounded to his farm, which was turned into a small hospital….the only month in which a service was not held that year was in September….In 1877 [the Rev.] Mr. Edwards offered to present the church with a bell, provided a bell gable was erected….on Sunday April 17, 1878, the bell was rung for the first time….In 1922 a stone wall was built around the church [replacing] the old dry stone wall which had been there for many years….In 1927 a pipe organ was installed in St. Mark’s by Miss Anne Maddox….Dr. Maddox had some walnut cut and stored on his farm…[and] it was from this wood that the beautiful console was made….In 1948 the entire interior of the church was re-decorated. The walls were patched and covered with canvas, then painted, the wainscoting stained.”

St. James School, Our Founding School, Celebrates 175 Years

Enjoy this video about the history of St. James School – www.stjames.edu/about/175th-anniversary

Christmas at St. Mark’s in the Nineteenth Century

Holy days were celebrated differently in long-ago times. Click on the button below to read an account written by one of the founding vestry members of St. Mark’s, describing a Sunday School Christmas program sometime after the Civil War. Some parts will be familiar, and some will be surprising. The next time you’re at St. Mark’s, look in the antique cabinet at the back of the Historic Church. You’ll see a small book, Questions on the Gospel According to St. Matthew (published in 1838), with the words “Samuel Maddox/St. Mark’s Sunday School/Christmas 1861” written inside the front cover. This book was one of the gifts given in the Sunday School, as described by Dr. Maddox.

Rector’s Civil War Diary, June 1863

During the momentous month of June 1863, the Reverend Joseph Coit, who was both rector of St. Mark’s and a teacher at the nearby College of St. James, kept a detailed diary of events in the neighborhood, which was full of both Union and Confederate troops in the run-up to the battle of Gettysburg. Click on the button at the right to read his June diary, which is about fifteen pages long.

St. Mark’s had been used as a field hospital after the battle of Antietam in September 1862; the church would again serve as a hospital after Gettysburg.

Last updated Nov. 25, 2016.