Contributed by Stuart E. Hotchkiss

One of the high points of working on Wayne County NYGenWeb has been receiving important contributions from historians, authors and scholars. Information about three of the ministers listed in our unique Wayne County Ministers Project was recently submitted by Stu Hotchkiss:

"I have spent some time reading much of the material I found, and must say you are doing a commendable job. As it happens, for about 2 years I have been writing the history of Zion Episcopal Church in Palmyra, which was formally organized in 1823. Included in the history will be biographies of the 33 rectors who have served there, as well as histories of the two church buildings one of which continues to thrive. In your record of Wayne ministers, you have identified three of Zion's rectors, one of whom was actually a missionary sent from New York City to the Western New York frontier. These men are:

Rev. J. W. Clark
Rev. Davenport Phelps
Rev. John G. Webster

To set the record straight on these three, and provide a bit more information I offer the following (© Stuart E. Hotchkiss, 2000)."

Best wishes,

email: stuh@localnet.com

Rev. J. W. Clark is in fact Rev. John W. Clark. He became rector of Zion, Palmyra in late 1842 or early 1843, and departed in November, 1849. Zion was his first church and after he left he transferred to the Diocese of New York and became rector of Calvary Episcopal Free Church in Brooklyn. From 1852 to 1855 he served in Cincinnati, afterward going to Hoboken, NJ and from there to Chicago, IL. In 1860 he was in St. Louis, and in 1861 he was assistant rector at St. George's, Newburgh, NY. From 1869 until 1883 he served at different locations in Michigan. His final position was in Cleveland, Ohio, where he died in 1885.

Rev. Davenport Phelps was a fascinating individual, and my biography for him runs 7 pages. Phelps was born in Hebron, CT 12 Aug. 1755, and died 27 June 1813 in Pultneyville, NY. Davenport Phelps is sometimes confused with his brother, George Davenport Phelps. I could not find any evidence that his brother, George D., was clergy. In addition to being a missionary and ordained Episcopal minister he was a student, military officer, lawyer, printer, merchant, farmer and active Masonic leader. He was the first permanent Missionary in Western New York. His mother, Theodora Wheelock, was the daughter of Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregational minister and founder and first president of Dartmouth College. One of his projects was the recruitment of Indian boys in New England, New York and Canada to attend the Moor Charity School for Indian Children. His first contact with Western New York was in 1792 when he and his uncle visited Upper Canada (now Ontario). Through his association with the Moor school he became a friend of Mohawk chief Joseph Brant who was a Moor graduate. He was an active Episcopal Missionary in Western New York in 1801 and 1802, and settled at Geneva, NY where he organized Trinity Parish. A Tavern Account book kept by Samuel Throop, Pultneyville, records his presence there in August 1805, and in correspondence in August 1806 he makes it certain that he had by then visited Palmyra. Between 1804 and 1813 he organized a dozen Episcopal parishes in Northern and Western NY.

Rev. John Gott Webster is a favorite Zion rector. During his tenure in Palmyra, in 1873 the current edifice replaced an 1827 structure on the same site. Webster was born in Chatham, Columbia county, NY in 1824, and at first learned the carpenter trade. He intended to become a lawyer, but while a student in Geneva he decided to make a career of the ministry. In 1862-3 he served in the 27th NY Volunteers, and first came to Zion in November 1865 and remained until April 1884. From Palmyra Rev. Webster moved to Greenbush, Rensselaer county, NY. He died there in September 1887. His body was returned to Palmyra and lay in state for a day. He was subsequently buried in the village cemetery where his grave is marked with a 22 foot monument furnished by the Knights Templar of the State of New York.

A complete list of the rectors and the years they served at Zion Episcopal church, Palmyra, is as follows:


1. PHELPS, Davenport 1806
2. NORTON, George Hadley 1822 - 24
3. MURRAY, Rufus (1823)
4. CLARK, John Alonzo 1826 - 28
5. GEAR, Ezekial Gilbert 1829
6. GUION, John Marshall 1829 - 30
7. HICKOX, Burton Hammond 1830 - 32
8. POUND, Jesse 1833
9. STAUNTON, William 1833 - 35
10. GILBERT, John D. 1837 - 39
11. BUTLER, Clement Moore 1839 - 40
12. BRITTAN, Thomas S. 1840 - 1843
13. CLARK, John W. 1843 - 49
14. BEACH, Amos B. 1850 - 51
15. GILLESPIE, George DeNormandie 1851 - 61
16. LEFFINGWELL, Christopher Starr 1862 - 63
17. LEECH, John 1863 - 65
18. WEBSTER, John Gott 1865 - 1884
19. COERR, Charles Thompson 1884 - 86
20. RICHARDSON, Leonard Woods 1886 - 95
21. WALKLEY, Charles Thomas 1895 - 1901
22. TOWSON, Emory Shailor 1901 - 09
23. EDSON, Elijah Hamlin 1910 - 16
24. KATES, Jerome 1916 - 21
25. CARRIE, John Sydney 1921 - 25
26. ATTRIDGE, Sydney 1925 - 40
27. MORSE, Frederick Eugene 1941 - 42
28. FOLEY, Jackson Worth 1943 - 47
29. COOK, Leo Sanford 1947 - 50
30. MURRAY, Thomas William 1951 - 53
31. SLONE, G. Lucian 1954 - 74
32. TAYLOR, Charles Henry 1975 - 84
33. LANE, Stephen Taylor 1985 - 98

Our deepest appreciation goes to Stu for sharing info from his work in progress. If you have information to share with him for his church history, please contact him at: stuh@localnet.com.

UPDATE 12/10/09: A big Thank You for the following new information goes out to Dean A. Slone.

31. SLONE, G. Lucian 1954 - 74

The "G" is for George, his grandfather. His Father was Gilbert Elwood Slone. His brother was Gilbert Elwood Slone Jr.

The Reverend G. Lucian Slone was my Uncle Lue.

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Created: 5/5/00
Updated: 12/10/09
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