Except for our first rector William Friend (1836-1870), no one preached longer at St. Peter’s than Sigismund Stribling Ware or as he was known. “Sig”. His years at St. Peter’s spanned 1888-1918. During much of that time he preached at Grace Church (until 1903), St. Asaphs and St. Peter’s. Later in 1914 he later added Vauters
Recently, a copy of an 1893 diary of this rector has come to light from Cookie Davis. 1893 was in the middle of period between Reconstruction and World War I. It represented the last presence of 19th century life. A decade later cars, airplanes, a growing presence of electricity started forever changing America.
I have been contact with Judy Ware, the genealogist of the Ware family, who has done an amazing amount of work on the Ware family. The diary is unknown to them and she is very excited over its uncovering. Here is her page covering Rev. Ware
You can read Sig’s diary here. It will remain at the "About Us" menu item above and under "History".
The blank diary was given to Ware at Christmas, 1892 by a Ms. Catlett. The name is either "N" or "H" Catlett. If "H" it could be Harriet T. Catlett. In 1880’s Robert and Catherine Catlett lived on Lot 44 with 8 children including Harriet.
Ware was a faithful diarist until Aug 13, 1893. Then it breaks off until Oct 1. There are scattered days missing in Oct. and November. It is not clear what took him away from the diary during these periods. He had just travelled to the Chicago to visit the famous World’s Fair, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus. The Fair was modelled after what a future city should be. Ware notes that October 1 was his first Sunday back at St. Peter’s
Over the next few weeks, I will be covering Rev. Ware and his diary. Ware ‘s family was from Clarke County Va. where he was born in 1851. He was later buried there in 1934 at his death at Grace Episcopal. Ironically, this was my first Episcopal Church.
Ralph Fall provides this assessment of Ware’s years. "Fifty years later citizens both black and white still remembered Ware with affection." The minutes added that "we will ever gratefully remember the faithfulness and earnestness with which he minstered to us as a congregation and as a community." The most visible honor is the brass table on the credence shelf in the front of the church.