We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Sig’s Diary, Part 4

Read Part 1    Read Part 2   Read Part 3











Sigismund Stribling Ware ("Sig") was priest at St. Peter’s for 30 years (1888-1918). Recently a diary he wrote has come to light. This is part 4 of the series, covering the second quarter of 1993.

Last week we covered the diary through the first quarter of 1993, getting to know him and the environment in which he worked.

Seasons change and so does Rev. Ware’s lives. Apparently, the second floor of the rectory was too hot in 1893 for the Ware’s. He writes on “We moved downstairs today.”

Spring finally came to Port Royal that year and Rev. Ware was an active gardener. Snow was on the ground as late as March 5. However, by March 22 he first mentions his “garden work.” Tomato plants put out first by the end of the month. Work intensified in early April. On April 5, he wrote that he had “planted my beans and 2nd crop of peas. Three weeks later, corn. The end of the month was rainy. On April 25, he exclaims ““A delightful rain, the very thing my garden needs.” However, by early his work slows with a cold. He did have help. On May 30 he writes, “Had Reuben in the garden most of the day also did some work myself.”

We also learned that Ware was a baseball fan not just watching it but playing it. He also was an occasional fisherman, fishing with Mr. Inscoe.

Ware took at least two extended trips during this period. First was “convocation” at Lancaster Courthouse. This appears to have been similar to our Region organization in the Diocese today. He writes on April 10 – “took the boat at night for convocation at Lancaster CH, met Dr. P_________ on the boat. “ It looks like it was a timer of fellowship, services and business. “ We had a devotional meeting at ______ and Latane gave us a good address. Business meeting. Service at night with addresses by Dr. Powers, Dr. Handley. “ Finally “We got up at 3am and walked Mossy Point at light. Took the boat for _________

He also attended Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia which was held in May in those years. In 1893, it was held in Winchester near Clarke County where his family lived. He took the train to Fredericksburg on May 15 to Washington and then to Berryman. “Jaque met me in Berryville and was glad to get home.” “Jaque drove me up to Winchester in time for the opening services of Council. G. W. Nelson preached on “Pray for the Peace”. I represented the Rappahannock Convocation. “ He noted a few events. “Carmichael gave an excellent sermon on “They hated me without a cause” He visited Wickliffe church on May 23, a historic church near Berryville.

Of course, Ware was both minister to St. Peter’s and Grace at Corbin. He had 39 communicants at Grace and 46 at St. Peter’s based on the minutes of the Annual Council in 1892. Frustration is part of the life of a minister – then and now. At Grace on Sunday, April 23, “raw day for our services and a rather small congregation”. Most Vestry meetings were annual at best and typically on Mondays. On April 24, he writes “Had a meeting with the congregation and re-elected the old vestry who organized and attended to the same business.” Same old. Same old. Sometimes he was brutally honest with himself. Sunday June 11- “was tired and stiff from my game on Friday so was rather dull today.”

In June, the Bishop would visit. Due to distances, the Bishop made a grand tour in an area, preaching not just on Sundays as with today but on weekdays.   

Ware was diligent about preparing for that event. On May 7, he writes” Preached on Confirmation at St. Peter’s. Bishop visits this church June 12. My cold bad enough but did not affect my preaching. “ On June 8, “saw Annie Holloway about confirmation.” On June 10, on the way to Grace church “Left home 3:30pm to go to Santee and after tea went to Cleremont and spent the night. Talked to Belle about confirmation. “ He met Bishop Whittle on Monday the 26th with services at night at St. Peter’s. Rev Everard Meade of Evangelist in Richmond preached. He had a good night – 5 confirmed.  

He possibly knew Whittle from Grace Episcopal in Berryville where was priest 1857-1868.  He heard the Bishop again at Port Conway the next night. Then on the 29th the Bishop was at Vauters and Rev. Ware preached.  On the 30th the Bishop confirmed 5 at Grace. He had stayed at Camden the previous night and they all went to Corbin the next day. After the service, "we all dined at Nottingham and we returned home to tea.

Much of what Ware chooses to include involves visits. Dr. and Mrs. Gravatt was a constant visit. He noted on May 6 that "L and I drove to Gay Mont and called on Mr. Robb, gradually getting worse." Others include Miss Sally Taft, Miss Virginia Thornton, Miss Sally Lightfoot,  Miss, Sarah J. Peyton, Mr. G. B. Farish,  Mrs. Quesenbery, Mr. Bowie, Wayne Myers and Dr. Holloway.