St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church

City of Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin

Courtesy of Carol

St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church, Beloit, was organized Feb. 28, 1841,
at a meeting held at the home of Rev. Aaron HUMPHREY. Mr. H. was at this time well advanced in years, and had been supplying the services and ministrations of the Church in an informal manner during the year prior to the establishment of St. Paul's. At this meeting C. H. F. GOODHUE and G. W. BICKNELL were elected Wardens; Otis P. BICKNELL, John C. BURR and Leonard R. HUMPHREY, Vestrymen; David J. BUNDY, Treasurer, and William H. HOBART, Secretary. Rev. Aaron HUMPHREY became the Rector of St. Paul's and continued to labor for the Church until November 1845, when he was succeeded by Rev. Stephen C. MILLETT. Mr. HUMPHREY died in Beloit, October 12, 1858, at the age of ninety years. A beautiful marble tablet "in memoriam" has been recently placed in the side wall of the chancel of St. Paul's, on which are engraved the dates of his service and his death. The public services of St. Paul's were held for the first three years in the village schoolhouse, on School street, and for the subsequent seven years in a brick building erected by Leonard HUMPHREY, at first for school purposes. This building was during the latter part of these seven years purchased by, fitted up and used exclusively for the church, and it was consecrated by Bishop KEMPER in the summer of 1845. This was the first church edifice of any kind built in Beloit. At a vestry meeting held in May, 1846, during Mr. MILLETT's rectorship, it was decided to build a new church edifice. In the spring of 1848, the corner-stone of the church was laid, and in December, 1851, the services were first held within its walls. Mr. MILLETT resigned in February, 1853, on account of ill health, and for a year and a half the parish was without a Rector. He continued to live within the parish, serving the church in various localities near Beloit, as health and strength would permit, until his death, which occurred on the 28th of May, 1867. A grateful congregation erected a tablet to his memory, which is placed on the east wall of the chancel in St. Paul's Church. In July, 1854, Rev. John E. C. SMEDES, then a Deacon, assumed charge of the parish. The record of official acts and proceedings of the parish seem to have been first kept carefully and orderly in Mr. SMEDES' rectorship, and his successors have scrupulously followed his example. Mr. SMEDES performed 57 baptisms, presented to the Bishop 17 candidates for confirmation, performed 18 marriages, officiated at 19 funerals and left 75 communicants belonging to the parish when he resigned. March 27, 1856, during Mr. SMEDES' rectorship, Bishop KEMPER consecrated the church in celebration of its complete relief from all financial encumbrances. During his rectorship, also, the shapely and beautiful spire of St. Paul's was erected, thus completing the symmetry of a very graceful Gothic structure. Rev. J. E. C. SMEDES resigned July 1, 1858, and after two months' interval he was succeeded by Rev. J. H. EGAR, who resigned February 4, 1861, after a prosperous rectorship.
Seven months later, Rev. L. W. DAVIS became Rector, and continued to
serve the church until his resignation, October 1, 1868. During his rectorship the society bought a rectory on the corner of Bridge and Bluff streets. November, 1, 1868, the Rev. Fayette ROYCE became the sixth Rector in the history of St. Paul's Church, and he is still Rector. The principal material improvements during this rectorship have been a pipe organ, excavations under the Church, the putting in of furnaces, making a new gallery, the building of a chapel, the setting out of trees around the rectory, improvements in the interior of the church and about the chancel, a new altar and credence table, a new font, and in keeping all the church property in good repair. The church, during these twenty years, had raised and expended for all purposes about $60,000, being an average of $3,000 a year. In January, 1884, a vested choir, twenty strong, was organized and trained, which has even since rendered acceptable music to the congregation. The church has a membership of 175, and is in a healthy condition. The present officers are: E. HOLMES, Senior Warden; E. A. LOOMIS, Junior Warden; F. H. STARKWEATHER, W. M. BRITTAN, George SHERWOOD, Charles O. MILLETT, George FREDERICK, H. H. McLENEGAN, R. J. BURDGE and O. H. ORTON, vestrymen.
[Source: The Portrait & Biographical Album of Rock County, Wisconsin, ©1889 Acme, Chicago, IL; pp. 587-588 (biography of Rev. Dr. Fayette ROYCE)]

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