Sunday, September 14, 2014

Major John Biddle/ St. Paul's members buried in Elmwood Cemetery

Major John Biddle

John Biddle was born in Philadelphia in March 1792 to a prominent American family. He was the son of Charles Biddle, Vice President of Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War and nephew of Commodore Nicholas Biddle who later became President of the United States Bank. A brother, Major Thomas Biddle, served in the U. S. Army and another brother, Commodore James Biddle, was a noted Naval officer.
A few years after graduation from Princeton College, John Biddle entered the United States Army, serving for most of the War of 1812 in the Niagara Frontier under General Scott. He was promoted from Captain of Artillery to Major. While in the military, he was assigned to Fort Shelby in Detroit as Commander. In 1821, Biddle left the Army and was appointed Indian Agent at Green Bay.
After returning to the East and finding a bride, Eliza F. Bradish of New York, John Biddle began the political phase of his life becoming prominent in affairs connected with the Territory, the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit. His political accomplishments were impressive. In 1820, he was appointed Associate Justice of County Court, Judge of Probate and Brown County Commissioner. From 1823 to 1837, he served as Register of the Land Office for the District of Detroit, selling farms and lots to new arrivals. From 1827 to 1828, he served as the Mayor of the City of Detroit. From 1829 through 1831, he was the Territorial Delegate to Congress from the State of Michigan. In 1835, he was a member of the Constitutional Convention and President of the first State Constitutional Convention. In 1841, he served in the State Legislature.
In addition to his military and political achievements, Biddle was a civic and cultural community leader. In 1835, he was elected President of the Detroit-St. Joseph Railroad which later became Michigan Central Railroad. Three years later, he became the first President of Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Bank having served as Director from 1829 through 1838.
Biddle displayed an interest in the general religious and philanthropic reforms of his time. He was a member and vestryman of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and became personally responsible for the expense of St. Paul’s first building. He helped organize the Episcopal Church Society in Detroit on March 8, 1825 and, on November 3, 1830, was elected Vice President of the County Bible Society which distributed Bibles and Testaments.
On July 15, 1831, he was elected Vice President of the Detroit Athenaeum which was established as a club reading room. His was the first name on a notice list of the Association for Promoting Female Education in the City of Detroit (December 4, 1834) and elected as a Trustee of the University of Michigan, an “English Classical School”. The Historical Society of Michigan was organized on July 3, 1828 at Mansion House and Biddle was asked to be the first Vice President (1828–1837). In 1837, he was elected President of the Society. His lecture of September 15, 1830 can be found in the book “Historical and Scientific Sketches of Michigan”. Biddle helped organize and participated in plays which were given in an amateur theater located in the upper part of a large brick storefront at the foot of Wayne Street.
For the people of southeastern Michigan, this man of so many accomplishments is perhaps best noted for his connection to the City of Wyandotte. Land on which the Village of Maquaqua had previously been located was auctioned off in 1818. Biddle acquired 2,200 acres and proceeded to construct his summer estate where he could retreat from Detroit and entertain. The buildings were completed in 1835 and the estate was named “The Wyandotte” after the Indian tribe that had lived on the land. The family moved there from Detroit a year later.
The white colonial-style home was built on the corner of Vinewood and Biddle on the land presently occupied by the McNichol-Ford House (Wyandotte Historical Museum). The front lawn, filled with flowers, went to the road running along the riverbank. It is reported that runaway slaves escaping to Canada and Wyandotte Indians were used for farm labor.
A lack of interest in farming led to the sale of “The Wyandotte” and Major Biddle and his wife left the area to return to his old home in Philadelphia. The property was sold for $44,000 in 1853 to Eber Ward of Eureka Iron and developed into the town of Wyandotte. The house was used as a hotel (some accounts say used as a carriage stop) for the workingmen of the village. A fire partially destroyed the house in 1860. It was moved in 1896 to its present location at 2114 Biddle, the second house south of Spruce. Some changes were made but many original beams and structural details remain.
After selling the property, Biddle went to Paris for a retirement vacation. His wife’s ill health prompted a trip to White Sulphur Springs, Virginia in 1859. He died there on August 25, 1859. Survivors were listed as four “recorded” children: William S., Major James, Edward J. and Margaretta.
Born: 1792
Died: 1859
Buried: Section F, Lot 47

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Radio Cathedral

The Wireless Age, Volume 10
October 1922

Embarking Upon a Great Missionary Enterprise in the Radio
Broadcasting of the Gospel on a Scale That Would Have
Astonished the Old-Time Apostles
By R. E. Flynn
THE service was over. The large congregation slowly walked out of the Cathedral as the last notes of the recessional hymn were heard from the choristers, marching away in the cloister.
By the center door of the church stood the man who for over one year has numbered his "flock" in the hundreds of thousands. He was bidding his "visible" friends a kindly good night.
As the crowd diminished to nothing he turned to find a young lady waiting at his side, and a pleasant voice inquiring, "Is this Dean Rogers?"
It was he—the Very Rev. Warren L. Rogers, dean of St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Detroit, whose services have been broadcast by station WWJ for the past year. To the stranger's question he replied, "Yes, I am he. What can I do for you?"
Then the young lady told her story.
"My home is in Highland Park," she said, "a distance of some four miles from the Cathedral.
"We have a small radio receiving set at home, and for some time I have been enjoying your services broadcast by station WWJ. Your beautiful service has appealed to me very strongly, but somehow I just could not make up my mind to join the church.
"But tonight," she continued, "as I listened in, I heard you speak so earnestly of the great work of the church, and received the invitation which you gave to your congregation, both present and 'listeners in,' to join the confirmation class which you are just starting, and then I made my decision. So strongly did it appear as my duty to act at once, that I went out to the garage, started my car, and have driven down here tonight to enroll in the confirmation class that you are now forming."
After making the necessary arrangements, and seeing the young lady start for home, happy, the Dean turned away, a smile of deep satisfaction on his face. He could not help feeling gratified, for his convictions as to the value of the radio in the broadcasting of Divine services once more had been completely vindicated.
For several months following the installation of microphones in the Detroit Cathedral, the Dean was called
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upon to answer many adverse criticisms. Some said it was not in keeping with the dignity of the church. Others said it cheapened the service to have it broadcast so freely. Still others declared that it would make it much easier for people to remain away from church, and contribute thereby to the growing moral and religious laxity.
To all these criticisms the Dean stoutly replied that it is the duty of the church to "preach the Gospel unto every creature."
From the very first he believed that radio offered a means of reaching a large part of the "unchurched" population of America, and by means of a broad and varied program, such as only a cathedral could provide, to break down many of the modern prejudices of people toward the church.
Perhaps the strongest of these prejudices was based on the seeming lack of co-operation between the different Christian denominations. To combat this, Dean Rogers decided to broadcast proof of such co-operation; more, to allow ministers of other faiths to preach to the radio congregation from his pulpit. Thus it has come about that services have been conducted in the cathedral by a Methodist Bishop; a Jewish Rabbi; ministers from the Presbyterian, Central Christian and Congregational Churches; a Baptist layman; a representative of the International Committee of theYoung Men's Christian Association; a national figure in the American Prison Reform Movement; an Indian professor of high repute from the University of Baroda in Bombay; and the leading woman preacher of the British Empire. A number of other ministers in his own and other communions have likewise conducted their service from the cathedral.
Following the appearance of each of these men, Dean Rogers received many letters from all parts of the country, expressing commendation of his efforts, and welcoming this move toward promoting a closer bond of fellowship between the churches. Perhaps the greatest single recognition of his work in this respect was his election to the Presidency of the Detroit Council of Churches for the ensuing year.
Conversing with the Dean a few days ago, the writer asked the following question: "After a year's experience at the microphone, Dean, are you convinced that the radio has proved of any practical benefit to the church in its work?"
His reply was characteristic, quick and decisive. "I am convinced," said he, "that radio has unquestionably proved a most valuable adjunct to the work of the church. It has enabled us here in the cathedral to embark upon a great missionary enterprise in the broadcasting of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, on a scale that would have astonished the old-time Apostle of our Lord. By it we have been able to reach and help many thousands of non-churchgoers, and it has, therefore, opened the way for the greatest missionary achievements since the time of Christ.
"Numerous examples of the far eaching effects of our radio ministry," continued the Dean, "have come to me in the form of letters and verbal communications, since I delivered my first message into the microphone one year ago Palm Sunday night.
"One of the first letters I received the following week was from a man living in a Middle Western city, who frankly stated that he had not attended church in over twenty years. The radio enabled us to reach him where nothing else would, and he pledged a renewed interest in the church of his
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early youth. He sent me five dollars as a pledge of his good faith.
"Two other cases that appealed to me very strongly were those of returned soldiers. One, a member of a prominent club in Chicago, was slowly dying of tuberculosis. The other, living in a large Michigan city, had been badly 'gassed' while in action in France, and was in a similar condition. Both of these lads write me frequently that they listen-in every Sunday, and that the Divine Message of the church is proving their only comfort in their dying days. Occasionally, I give them a word of greeting during the course of a service in the cathedral.
"Then there is the case of the clergyman, a former rector of one of our churches in the Diocese of Michigan. For several years this man suffered from a dread disease, which finally necessitated his resignation from his rectorship, and submission to a series of amputations of one limb. A few weeks ago he wrote me a letter, from a. small town in Ohio where he is convalescing, stating that he attends service with the cathedral congregation every Sunday, and expressing his thanks for this wonderful invention that 'makes it possible for a poor old one-legged parson to go to church.'
"Many other evidences of the great practical benefits of radio in a more general way are apparent to us here in the cathedral," went on the Dean. "I am certain that the greater interest that is now being manifested in the church is due in no small measure to the radio as a means of appeal to them. "For instance, during the last calendar year, we have had the largest confirmation classes by far in our history, and also the greatest number of baptisms of any previous year. The astonishing fact is, that of 172 persons confirmed in St. Paul's Cathedral last year, over one-half were persons whose
early training was received in communions other than our own. 1 am convinced that radio has proved a great factor in enabling us to widen the scope of our appeal as evidenced by these figures.
"As a further proof of the remarkable field that this wonderful invention has opened for us in doing intense missionary work, I should mention the case of the banker in a small Canadian town, whose church was minus a rector, and who wrote me saying that after 'listening in' to some of our services in his home he had finally decided to purchase a receiving set to be installed in the church, so that the members might worship on Sunday with us, even though they were without a minister of their own.
"Just last week I received a letter from one of the clergymen in our Diocese, who has two churches in neighboring towns under his charge. He has installed a receiving set in one of these churches, so that his people may have the privilege of worshiping there, while he is conducting services in the other town. He wrote for our schedule of services.
"From information that I have received I am certain that several other churches, without the services of rectors of their own, are likewise worshiping with us. And this is not confined to our own communion either, for only last summer a Presbyterian church in a Michigan town put in a receiving set and worshiped simultaneously with us, while their pastor was away on his summer's vacation.
"Of the invalid lady who sits propped up in her bed each Sunday with a receiver at her ear and a prayer book in her hand, worshiping earnestly and effectively with us, or of the many other instances of sick people and shut-ins, who can attend church in no other way, I need say little, for their cases are apparent to anyone.
"Since radio was installed I have not been preaching to empty pews, as some people predicted during the early days of our great experiment. In fact, we have had the largest congregations in our history. Most people like a live church, and I believe this is what appealed to many of them in our case.
"Do you wonder," concluded Dean Rogers, "that I am enthusiastic about the wonderful possibilities of radio in the broadcasting of Divine services, and that I am convinced that by its means we can effectively follow the command of our Lord 'to preach the Gospel unto every creature.'"
On Palm Sunday night one year ago, the beautiful tones of the Barbour memorial organ in the cathedral and the triumphant choruses from the throats of the cathedral choristers, 103 voices strong, were sent forth from St. Paul's Cathedral by WWJ, the Detroit News, for the first time.
The earliest message broadcast from there was in the form of a great cantata, Christopher Marks' "Victory Divine." Down through the stretch of a year at the microphone have come echoes of that first great triumph, which in the words of America's radio Dean can best be described as "the greatest missionary achievement since the time of Jesus Christ."


Monday, May 16, 2011

Ralph Adams Cram's thoughts on the Dedication of the Cathedral, March 1911

March 30, 1911

Dear Dr. Marquis,

      I am in receipt of your letter of March 27, and note that the formal opening of the cathedral will be on Wednesday, May 17. You may be very sure I shall come out at that time. If possible, I mean also to bring Mrs. Cram with me.

       As for the lectern.............

       You flatter me when you ask my advice as to the dedication ceremonies. I will think this over and report later. In the meantime, the only clear ideas I have are, first that the great dedication service should be a celebration of the Holy Communion, with the priest, deacon and sub-deacon, no one receiving except those in the choir. Second: that after the people have been assembled in the church, the doors should be locked, the dean and the architects and a few attendants being within. Then the great procession should be formed in the parish house; Bishop, choir, diocesan clergy, visiting clergy lay officials, etc. and this procession should come out by the south door of the parish house, pass west along Hancock Avenue, and when the cross reaches the west doors, the ranks should open permitting the Bishop with his attendants to pass between and up to the same doors, where the Bishop of the Diocese, whereupon the west door are thrown open and the procession enters, this time with the Bishop and his attendants in front.

       Certainly a solemn Te Deum should be sung, and I should suppose that the time for this would be before the Communion service. Probably it would be best for the procession, with the Bishop leading, to go directly upon entrance up into the chancel, where all the diocesan authorities with the Bishop in the center would group themselves around and facing the altar and the Te Deum would then be sung, this is followed immediately by the Communion service and sermon.

         It is a good practice for the representative of the architects to hand over the keys to the dean, who in turn hands them to the Bishop. This might be the very first thing that would take place after the procession had entered and taken it's position in the choir and sanctuary. Better still, why should not the procession from the west door be formed as follows?

Cross Bearer
The Dean
The Cathedral Chapter
The Representative of the architects,
            Behind would follow the Bishop at the head of the great procession. Arrived at the entrance to the choir the dean and the representatives of the architects would take position on either side of the choir steps. The Chapter would open out on either side, the Bishop would come forward, when the architect would deliver the keys to the dean, the dean would hand them to the Bishop and then the Bishop would lead into the choir, the dean behind him, the architect fading off into some inconspicuous corner, his work having been accomplished.

         Here are some suggestions and I may be inspired to send others. By the way, should not the proper psalms be sung or said as the procession goes up the aisle? This I think, would be better than a hymn, though at some place int eh service se mush have “The Churches One Foundation”.

        There are, I know definite rules and regulations for the conversation that take place through the door between the Bishop and the dean, but just what is said I am not sure. You ought to be able to find out from some Bishop who has has occasion to take posession of his cathedral under similar circumstances.

Very truly yours

Ralph Adams Cram


Just for the dignity and beauty of the procession outside and inside the cathedral you must get some banners. If you have one connected with the cathedral parish, cannot you acquire some for the occasion from other churches in the diocese?