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 5

Read Part 1    Read Part 2    Read Part 3    Read Part 4











After the good time of the “Bishop’s tour” mentioned in part 4 and July 4 with fireworks, the tone of the diary shifts. Son Edward born in 1892 is ill. He is not a year old. We know what Ware did not know – he would die in his fourth year in 1896. They had an earlier lost an infant daughter in July years earlier. He must have experienced flashbacks back to that time.

Ware’s life changes significantly – other things he enjoys, garden and visiting take a back seat. As he writes on the 15th , “My time is wholly taken up with Edward or with getting ready for services."

To make matters worse it was the hottest temperature of the year at 93. The entries became more agitated: July 8 – “We are quite uneasy about Edward and he is in the hands of Dr. G” July 10 – “ The Baby was very restless last night … uneasy about him, especially as Dr. Gravatt is waiting July 11 –“ The weather continues hot and this is not good for the baby yet appears to be better” July 12 – “The heat is telling on dear little Edward July 13 – “The doctor does seem alarmed” “ He does not seem to rally at all."

Finally, Edward is over the illness though we never find out exactly what it is. The entry on July 17

July 17 – the Baby is remarkably bright today and we are so delighted. “ Worked in garden

Life gradually returns normal. We learn a few new details. It took him over 2.5 hours to ride to Grace Church for services. He writes on July 9 – “Got off to Grace at 8:19 and reached there at 10:56.” Today those 17.5 miles takes just over 20 minutes. He seems to like to preach on Matthew

His usual places are visited –went to Santee after the evening service at Grace, spent the night and went the next day to Gay Mont for dinner. On the 27th he drove John Garrett to Camden. The next day “Called on Dr. Gravatt and also on the Owens and Dr. Jetts to see Mrs. R. C. Jett but she was at Camden.” On Aug 4 – “. Called in PM on the Catletts, Burrows, and Miss Sarah J and Gravattas

Celery is being added to the garden. He took up a special collection for painting the rectory. He goes to Ormesby in Caroline County near where Gen Jackson died of pneumonia to officiate at a funeral.

The diary is blank from August 14 to October 1 – that’s about a 6 week lapse. Summer was a time of longer vacations in that time due to the heat. He takes a train to Chicago to visit his brother Robb and family and to attend the Columbia Exposition in Chicago recognizing the 400th anniversary of Columbus. “The Fair exceeded my expectations , the Electrik display beautiful.” Electricity was new and controversial. Many places continued with gas through World War I.

Returning back to St. Peter’s by October 1, he preaches on the Parable of the Sower and “Until I went onto the House of God” (Psalm 73). These are preached several times at different churches.

Another convocation of local churches in the region is held in the fall as was the spring– this time at St. Peter’s in the middle of October. On October 17 he writes “ Our congregation was moderate this morning but good at night. Mr. Birckhead preached in morning and Latane gave us a temperance service at night.” Birckhead was from Overwharton Parish, Stafford Courthouse. (Present day Aquia Church was built on the site of Overwharton Parish Church). Latane was Rev. William C. Latane of Oak Grove.

Apparently rain could affect the holding of services. He says on Oct 22. “Raining all morning and so did not get to Church. Went out to Claremont and dined there and returned home by 6:30, just missed a heavy rain.” On Nov 21 in going to Vauters “. I left at 12 for Loretto (“Vauters”) and reached the Rectory before Tea. Rained so we could not have services at night.”

The diary does not say much of other parts of church life at St. Peter’s.

The Vestry apparently met more than annually as he says in one month that it did not meet. Food as part of the life is only mentioned one. He writes on Nov. 6 “ the Ladies met today to arrange for a dinner tomorrow election day. Miss Patsie came down and took tea and spent the evening.” A dinner on election day – a day which he remarked was “orderly.” They did have a special service for children at least one. He writes on Sun. Nov 19, ” We had 3 services today – the one in the afternoon for children.

During these months we learn Ware read the Guardian and mentions reading the Presidential addresses. One of the issues was the annexation of Hawaii which did occur later in 1898. We also learned Ware was in politics. He writes on Dec. 18 – “I had my first trial as mayor pro tem.”

In November and December we learn about the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas at that time. The weather continued colder with more snow than our own time. Ware writes on December 4, “Snowed nearly all day and thermometer very low. I took my usual walk in the snow. Cut my wood and spent afternoon in house Thanksgiving services were held both at St. Peter’s and Grace – a contrast to own time when many churches do not hold them . Christmas decorations at St. Peter’s are mentioned in several places. On December 20th, “the ladies commenced the Church dressing” which continued though the next day. On December 22, “J. Gutthridge helped us place the wreaths in the church. “ Christmas services at Grace were on the 24th. “A lovely day, a large congregation and communion.”

St. Peter’s had Christmas services . Common to the time was a Sunday School Festival. In many churches especially in Fredericksburg it was a part of Christmas, a showcase of both attendance and learning in Sunday school with prizes given for achievement. The children carried banners and sang as the entered the churches and the rector would make remarks . The best part may have been at the end. At St. George’s, “the usual amount of goodies have been heaped into a large pyramid of bright tarlatan bags, dressed with holly, ivy and vines surmounted by a row of different colored candles, the sight of which the bright and happy faces made us wish we were children again.”

Next week we will conclude this study of the diary.